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ERIC Number: EJ830972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Constraints on Children's Judgments of Magical Causality
Woolley, Jacqueline D.; Browne, Cheryl A.; Boerger, Elizabeth A.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v7 n2 p253-277 Apr 2006
In 3 studies we addressed the operation of constraints on children's causal judgments. Our primary focus was whether children's beliefs about magical causality, specifically wishing, are constrained by features that govern the attribution of ordinary causality. In Experiment 1, children witnessed situations in which a confederate's wish appeared to come true. Three features of causality--priority, consistency, and exclusivity--were systematically violated in the wishing scenarios. The dependent measure was children's attribution of a causal role to the confederate's wish in explaining the appearance of an object. Results revealed that children's attribution of a causal role to the process of wishing was constrained by 2 features of ordinary causality--priority and exclusivity. Results from Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated that children honored these same constraints in attributing physical causality to a novel machine and to a marble toy. It is concluded that magical causality is constrained by some of the same features that constrain ordinary causality. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables and 2 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A