Almost thinking counterfactually: children's understanding of close counterfactuals
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Colleges, School and Institutes
Saying something "almost happened" indicates that one is considering a close counterfactual world. Previous evidence suggested that children start to consider these close counterfactuals at around 2 years of age (P. L. Harris, 1997), substantially earlier than they pass other tests of counterfactual thinking. However, this success appears to result from false positives. In Experiment 1 (N = 41), 3- and 4-year-olds could identify a character who almost completed an action when the comparison did not complete it. However, in Experiments 1 and 2 (N = 98), children performed poorly when the comparison character completed the action. In Experiment 3 (N = 28), 5- and 6-year-olds consistently passed the task, indicating that they made appropriate counterfactual interpretations of the "almost" statements. This understanding of close counterfactuals proved more difficult than standard counterfactuals.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2011|