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ERIC Number: EJ979381
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 71
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
Play on: Retrospective Reports of the Persistence of Pretend Play into Middle Childhood
Smith, Eric D.; Lillard, Angeline S.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v13 n4 p524-549 2012
Piaget (1962) asserted that children stop engaging in pretend play when they enter the concrete operational stage because they become able to accommodate reality and no longer need to assimilate it to their wishes. Consistent also with the views of Vygotsky, discussion of pretend play in developmental psychology is typically confined to early childhood, yet the activity itself does not seem to be so confined. As a preliminary investigation of pretend play in middle childhood, undergraduates were asked to complete a retrospective questionnaire about their childhood pretend play. The questionnaire items queried them about the content and context of their prior pretense engagements, when and why they stopped pretending, and personality characteristics relevant to pretense and fantasy. On average, respondents reported ceasing to pretend around 11 years of age. Among the statistically significant predictors of participants' reported ages of ceasing to pretend were gender, childhood environs, siblings' ages, belief in fantastical entities as a child, and participants involved in the last pretend memory. This preliminary study lays a foundation for future studies exploring the role of pretending in middle childhood. Although this study suggests that pretending is still widespread in middle childhood, it sheds no light on its function. This is an important issue across all ages that future research should address. (Contains 1 figure, 1 footnote and 5 tables.)
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: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A