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Young children's awareness of the mind-body distinction

Type: Journal

Article title : Young children's awareness of the mind-body distinction

Author: Inagaki, Kayoko; Hatano, Giyoo

Year: 1993
Journal: Child Development
Vol : Issue 64 : 5
Pages: 15341549


Four experiments, involving a total of 20 4-yr-olds, 20 5-yr-olds, 80 6-yr-olds, 40 8-yr-olds, and 40 college students, investigated children's understanding of the mind-body distinction. Children of ages 4 and 5 recognized not only the differential modifiability of changeable vs unchangeable human properties and bodily vs mental properties, but also the independence of activities of bodily organs from a person's intention (Exp 1). When presented with 3 types of causal explanations (i.e., intentional, vitalistic, mechanical), 6-yr-olds chose most often as most plausible for bodily functions vitalistic explanations; 8-yr-olds chose the vitalistic explanations 2nd most often, following mechanical ones (Exp 2). However, 6-yr-olds, as well as 8-yr-olds and adults, did not always choose vitalistic explanations over intentional explanations (Exp 3); whereas they tended to prefer vitalistic explanations for biological phenomena, they predominantly accepted intentional ones for psychological phenomena (Exp 3A).


Author's institution: Chiba U, Faculty of Education, Japan
Language: English
Country origin: Japan

Entry number: 295
English version:

Entry source: ** PsycLIT This information is reprinted with the permission of the American Psychological Association, publisher of Psychological Abstracts and PsycLIT (Copywrite 1997 by the American Psychological Association) and may not be reproduced without its prior permission.
Entered by: Courtenay Young
Entry date: 7 June 2004

Key Phrases: Age Differences in Children - Mind Body Dualism - Concept Formation - Biology - Psychology
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