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Magic and the MindMechanisms, Functions, and Development of Magical Thinking and Behavior$
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Eugene Subbotsky

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.001.0001

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Children and Magic

Children and Magic

Chapter:
(p.18) 2 Children and Magic
Source:
Magic and the Mind
Author(s):

Eugene Subbotsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.003.0002

In Chapter 2 (“Children and Magic”), various issues of magical beliefs in children are discussed. It starts with a brief analysis of Piaget's famous description of magical reasoning in children. It then presents the data of recent experiments with preschool children that demonstrate children's beliefs in magic. Essentially, these experiments show that by the age of 4 years, in their verbal judgments, most preschoolers are skeptical toward the possibility of “mind-over-matter” magic, yet in their actions, they behave as if they really believe in magic. Various alternative interpretations of children's “magical” behaviors are analyzed, and follow-up experiments are presented that allow one to overrule the argument that preschool children do not yet have the idea of “true magic” and confuse magical effects with magic tricks.

Keywords:   children, magical beliefs, development, reasoning and behavior

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