The Ghost in My Body: Children's Developing Concept of the Soul

The Ghost in My Body: Children's Developing Concept of the Soul The Ghost in My Body: Children’s Developing Concept of the Soul* R ebekah A. R ichert and ** P aul L. H arris *** ABSTRACT Two experiments were conducted to explore whether children, who have been exposed to the concept of the soul, di ff erentiate the soul from the mind. In the fi rst experiment, 4- to 12-year-old children were asked about whether a religious ritual a ff ects the mind, the brain, or the soul. The majority of the children claimed that only the soul was di ff erent after baptism. In a follow-up study, 6- to 12-year-old children were tested more explicitly on what factors di ff erentiate the soul from the mind and the brain. Children di ff erentiated the soul from the mind and the brain along two dimensions: function and stability. In contrast to their responses about the mind and the brain, children did not claim that the soul was important for cognitive, non-cognitive, or biological functioning. Children consistently indicated that the mind and the brain change and grow over time. In contrast, children indicated that the soul is something that stays constant and is devoted to various, predominantly spiritual, functions. By http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Cognition and Culture Brill

The Ghost in My Body: Children's Developing Concept of the Soul

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2006 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1567-7095
eISSN
1568-5373
D.O.I.
10.1163/156853706778554913
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Ghost in My Body: Children’s Developing Concept of the Soul* R ebekah A. R ichert and ** P aul L. H arris *** ABSTRACT Two experiments were conducted to explore whether children, who have been exposed to the concept of the soul, di ff erentiate the soul from the mind. In the fi rst experiment, 4- to 12-year-old children were asked about whether a religious ritual a ff ects the mind, the brain, or the soul. The majority of the children claimed that only the soul was di ff erent after baptism. In a follow-up study, 6- to 12-year-old children were tested more explicitly on what factors di ff erentiate the soul from the mind and the brain. Children di ff erentiated the soul from the mind and the brain along two dimensions: function and stability. In contrast to their responses about the mind and the brain, children did not claim that the soul was important for cognitive, non-cognitive, or biological functioning. Children consistently indicated that the mind and the brain change and grow over time. In contrast, children indicated that the soul is something that stays constant and is devoted to various, predominantly spiritual, functions. By

Journal

Journal of Cognition and CultureBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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