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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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Magical Thinking and Children's Cognitive Development

Magical Thinking and Children's Cognitive Development

(p.34) 4 Magical Thinking and Children's Cognitive Development
Magic and the Mind

Eugene Subbotsky

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 4 (“Magical Thinking and Children's Cognitive Development”), the relationships between children's magical thinking and more traditional aspects of their cognitive development are discussed. Indeed, despite the fact that multinational industries (such as toy production and entertainment) exploit and support magical beliefs in children and many TV programs for children show magical characters, surprisingly little is known about the effects of magical thinking and magical beliefs on children's cognitive and social development. Is involvement in magical thinking confined to the department of entertainment, or has it also to do with more practical aspects of children's lives, such as learning and social communication? It is hypothesized that magical thinking does indeed positively affect children's cognitive development, by enhancing creative divergent thinking in children. Experiments are presented that demonstrate that exposing children to a movie containing strong magical effects increased their performance on creativity tasks to a significantly larger extent than did exposing a control group of children to a similar movie but without any reference to magic.

Keywords:   magical thinking, creativity, imagination, children's cognitive development

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