Children's Understanding of the Stream of Consciousness

Children's Understanding of the Stream of Consciousness 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Child Development Wiley

Children's Understanding of the Stream of Consciousness

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0009-3920
eISSN
1467-8624
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-8624.1993.tb02916.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Child DevelopmentWiley

Published: Apr 1, 1993

References

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