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ERIC Number: EJ939696
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Preschoolers' Magical Explanations for Violations of Physical, Social, and Mental Laws
Browne, Cheryl A.; Woolley, Jacqueline D.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n2 p239-260 2004
In 2 experiments we explored young preschoolers' knowledge of constraints on human action by presenting them with violations of different types of law and asking whether the violations required magic. In Experiment 1, children responded that physical violations required magic more than did social violations. In Experiment 2, violations were presented in pairs and included violations of "mental law." Again, children's "magic" responses were higher for physical than for social violations. Older children also differentiated between mental and social violations. It is concluded that (a) young preschoolers realize that physical constraint is importantly different from social constraint, and (b) children understand that constraints on mental activities are also different from those that operate in the social realm; this understanding develops during the preschool years. (Contains 2 figures, 6 tables, and 4 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: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A