NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ931998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Preschoolers' Understanding of Others' Desires: Fulfilling Mine Enhances My Understanding of Yours
Atance, Cristina M.; Belanger, Michele; Meltzoff, Andrew N.
Developmental Psychology, v46 n6 p1505-1513 Nov 2010
We developed a gift-giving task requiring children to identify their mother's desire, when her desire differed from theirs. We found a developmental change: 3- and 4-year-olds performed more poorly than 5-year-olds (Experiment 1). A modified version of this task (Experiment 2) revealed that 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds whose desires had been fulfilled chose an appropriate gift for their mothers significantly more often than children whose desires were unfulfilled. Children who merely anticipated desire fulfillment also outperformed children whose desires were unfulfilled. Analysis of children's verbal explanations provides converging evidence that desire fulfillment enhanced children's tendency to adopt the perspective of their mother and justify their choices by referencing her desires. Discussion focuses on why desire fulfillment enhances children's ability to consider the desires of others. (Contains 4 tables and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A