Where theories of mind meet magic: The development of children's beliefs about wishing Article

Woolley, JD, Phelps, KE, Davis, DL et al. (1999). Where theories of mind meet magic: The development of children's beliefs about wishing . 70(3), 571-587. 10.1111/1467-8624.00042

cited authors

  • Woolley, JD; Phelps, KE; Davis, DL; Mandell, DJ

fiu authors

abstract

  • In two studies, we probed children's beliefs about wishing. In Study 1, we gathered initial data on 50 3-to 6-year-old children's concepts of wishing and beliefs about its efficacy, with both a semistructured interview and a variety of tasks. Results revealed considerable knowledge about wishing in young children, along with an age-related decrease in beliefs about its efficacy. Parents were not found to encourage differently the beliefs of children at different ages, nor were they found to begin actively discouraging such beliefs at any particular age. A moderate relation was found between environmental supports for wishing and children's beliefs in its efficacy. In Study 2, we continued to probe these issues and also address the nature of the broader conceptual context in which children situate their beliefs about wishing. Participants were 92 3-to 6-year-old children. Results of this study suggest that children may reconcile beliefs in the efficacy of wishing with knowledge about everyday mental-physical relations by situating these beliefs more within their emerging beliefs about magic than within their theories of mind.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 571

end page

  • 587

volume

  • 70

issue

  • 3