Children and adults were tested for their understanding that there is a virtually continuous flow of mental content in a waking person, a “stream of consciousness” that continues to run even when the person is not examining stimuli perceptually or trying to solve a problem. There was a marked increase with age from preschool to adulthood in subjects' tendency to say that a person who was just waiting quietly was having “some thoughts and ideas” rather than “a mind empty of thoughts and ideas.” 4‐year‐olds also tended to say that the mind of a waiting person was “not doing anything,” whether that person was another individual or themselves, and that a person who wanted to could keep his or her “mind completely empty of all thoughts and ideas” for 3 min. These results suggest that preschoolers' conceptions of people's mental lives may be quite different from those of older children and adults.
Child Development – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1993
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