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ERIC Number: EJ939695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Preschooler's Understanding of the Role of Mental States and Action in Pretense
Ganea, Patricia A.; Lillard, Angeline S.; Turkheimer, Eric
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n2 p213-238 2004
This research investigated 3- to 5-year-old's understanding of the role of intentional states and action in pretense. There are two main perspectives on how children conceptualize pretense. One view is that children understand the mental aspects of pretending (the rich interpretation). The alternative view is that children conceptualize pretense as "acting-like" and do not appreciate that the mind is crucial to pretense (the lean interpretation). The experiments in this article used a novel approach to test these two interpretations. Children were presented with two types of videotaped scenarios. In Experiment 1, children were presented with a scenario in which people wanted to be like something else (e.g., a kangaroo) and either acted like it or did not act like it. Children were asked whether the protagonists were pretending and whether they were thinking about the pretend entity. In Experiment 2, children were presented with the Experiment 1 scenarios and also with a scenario in which a person had the intention to do something else (e.g., look for her keys) but whose actions were similar to those of a pretend entity (e.g., a bear). Children were asked about the pretense, thoughts, and the intentions of the protagonists. Experiment 3 tested for the effect of asking an open-ended versus a forced-choice question on the Experiment 2 tasks. The results of this study suggest that in certain facilitating conditions (e.g., intention information salient, forced-choice question) children have an early understanding of the role of mind in pretense. (Contains 4 tables and 1 footnote.)
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: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A