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Children's attributions of beliefs to humans and God: cross-cultural evidence

By Nicola Knight, Paulo Sousa, Justin L. Barrett and Scott Atran


The capacity to attribute beliefs to others in order to understand action is one of the mainstays of human cognition. Yet it is debatable whether children attribute beliefs in the same way to all agents. In this paper, we present the results of a false-belief task concerning humans and God run with a sample of Maya children aged 4 to 7, and place them in the context of several psychological theories of cognitive development. Children were found to attribute beliefs in different ways to humans and God. The evidence also speaks to the debate concerning the universality and uniformity of the development of folk-psychological reasoning

Topics: Developmental Psychology, Comparative Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
Year: 2003
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