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ERIC Number: EJ859200
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Enabling Conditions and Children's Understanding of Pretense
Sobel, David M.
Cognition, v113 n2 p177-188 Nov 2009
Two experiments examined whether preschoolers' difficulties on tasks that required relating pretending and knowledge (e.g., Lillard, A. S. (1993a). "Young children's conceptualization of pretense: Action or mental representational state?" "Child Development, 64," 372-386) were due to children's inability to appreciate the causal mechanism behind enabling conditions. In Experiment 1, 4-year-olds were told about a character who knew about one kind of animal and did not know about another. The character acted in a manner consistent with both animals. Children were asked whether the character was pretending to be the animal of which he was ignorant. The character's knowledge was either represented in a generic manner (as a picture) or in a manner that suggested a particular enabling condition relation that children found accessible (as a battery, which most 4-year-olds recognize is critical for making toys work). Children were more successful at relating knowledge and pretending in the battery condition. This improvement in performance extended to another task in which children had to identify the enabling condition relation between knowledge and identification, in which there were reduced demands on the inhibitory mechanisms necessary for success. Experiment 2 found that the results in Experiment 1 were not due to demands of the procedure used in Experiment 1. These results are discussed in the context of recent theories of theory of mind that focus on the importance of causal relations among mental states. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A