Chapter

Children and Magic

Eugene Subbotsky

in Magic and the Mind

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393873
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776979 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.003.0002
Children and Magic

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In Chapter 2 (“Children and Magic”), various issues of magical beliefs in children are discussed. It starts with a brief analysis of Piaget's famous description of magical reasoning in children. It then presents the data of recent experiments with preschool children that demonstrate children's beliefs in magic. Essentially, these experiments show that by the age of 4 years, in their verbal judgments, most preschoolers are skeptical toward the possibility of “mind-over-matter” magic, yet in their actions, they behave as if they really believe in magic. Various alternative interpretations of children's “magical” behaviors are analyzed, and follow-up experiments are presented that allow one to overrule the argument that preschool children do not yet have the idea of “true magic” and confuse magical effects with magic tricks.

Keywords: children; magical beliefs; development; reasoning and behavior

Chapter.  1870 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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