ERIC Number: EJ850181
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
How Fantasy Benefits Young Children's Understanding of Pretense
Sobel, David M.
Developmental Science, v9 n1 p63-75 Jan 2006
Sobel and Lillard (2001 ) demonstrated that 4-year-olds' understanding of the role that the mind plays in pretending improved when children were asked questions in a fantasy context. The present study investigated whether this fantasy effect was motivated by children recognizing that fantasy contains violations of real-world causal structure. In Experiment 1, 4-year-olds were shown a fantasy character engaged in ordinary actions or actions that violated causal knowledge. Children were more likely to say that a troll doll who was acting like but ignorant of the character was not pretending to be that character when read the violation story. Experiment 2 suggested that this difference was not caused by a greater interest in the violation story. Experiment 3 demonstrated a similar difference for characters engaged in social and functional violations that were possible in the real world. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that preschoolers use actions and appearance more than mental states to make judgments about pretense, but that those judgments can be influenced by the context in which the questions are presented.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A