Wanting to Be It: Children's Understanding of Intentions Underlying Pretense
Article first published online: 16 SEP 2008
Volume 69, Issue 4, pages 981–993, August 1998
How to Cite
Lillard, A. S. (1998), Wanting to Be It: Children's Understanding of Intentions Underlying Pretense. Child Development, 69: 981–993. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1998.tb06155.x
- Issue published online: 16 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 16 SEP 2008
How children understand the mental state of pretense has recently become an active area of inquiry, with some research suggesting that young children do not understand that pretending is based on mentally representing some alternate state of affairs. Because intention is thought to be understood earlier than mental representation generally, these experiments tested whether children understand pretense intentions at an earlier age than they understand pretense mental representations. Children were told about a character's intentions and conflicting actions, and were asked about the character's pretense. Across 5 experiments, children did not demonstrate appreciation that intention is crucial to pretense. Various methodological factors that might have compromised the results were examined, but to no effect.