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Volume 2 Issue 1 (March 1999), Pages 1-113

Lion Kings or puppies: the influence of fantasy on children’s understanding of pretense (pages 75-80)

Many have thought that children have an early appreciation of the mind in the case of pretend play. Results from several experiments are against this. However, an experiment by Lillard (Body or mind: children’s categorizing of pretense, Child Development, 67 (1996), 1717‐1734, Experiment 4) suggested that when a pretense is about a fantasy character, instead of a real entity, children might have a better understanding of the mind’s involvement. The present experiment tested this, and found that indeed, when pretending to be a fantasy character is at issue, 4‐year‐olds are significantly more apt to indicate the mind’s involvement. Several possible reasons for this result are discussed.

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