Young children's ability to distinguish past and future changes in physical and mental states

Grant, JB and Suddendorf, T (2010) Young children's ability to distinguish past and future changes in physical and mental states. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28 4: 853-870. doi:10.1348/026151009X482930


Author Grant, JB
Suddendorf, T
Title Young children's ability to distinguish past and future changes in physical and mental states
Journal name British Journal of Developmental Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0261-510X
2044-835X
Publication date 2010-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1348/026151009X482930
Volume 28
Issue 4
Start page 853
End page 870
Total pages 18
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Two studies (N = 108) investigated preschool children's ability to use descriptions of past and future events to infer current physical and mental states. In Study 1, stories described characters that either acquired an object or knowledge ‘yesterday’, or will acquire that object or knowledge ‘tomorrow’. Children were asked to identify which character currently possessed the object or knew the information. In Study 2, the terms ‘will’ and ‘did’ were used in the stories to identify past and future time. Ability to correctly respond in this type of task requires recognition of the different causal links past and future events have with the present. Five-year-olds consistently performed better than chance on these tasks. In contrast, 4-year-olds' performance was inconsistent across the studies. An appreciation of the fundamental distinction between descriptions of past and future events is essential to understanding the complexities of both the physical and social world. This research suggests that this understanding is acquired by 4–5 years of age.
2010 The British Psychological Society

Keyword Appearance reality distinction
Time travel
False belief
Authobiographical memory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 12 Dec 2010, 00:11:17 EST