Thinking about distant lands

Researchers Explore A “Striking Phenomenon” In Young Children’s Thinking – Their Denial That Improbable Events Are Possible

Sure, it’s unlikely that a girl would ride a hippo or that a boy would drink onion juice, but as adults, we know that it’s not impossible. However, and in contrast to adults’ reasoning, for some time researchers have noticed a “striking phenomenon” (to quote the authors of a new paper) in young children’s thinking – that is, up to around the age of eight, they frequently assume that improbable events are actually impossible. In their paper in Developmental Psychology, Celina Bowman-Smith at the University of Waterloo and her colleagues have investigated whether asking children to consider the possibility of hypothetical events in a distant, far away country might help them to overcome this closed-minded thinking and realise that improbable doesn’t mean impossible. ….[READ]

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