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Developing appreciation for ambivalence: the understanding of concurrent conflicting desires in 4- to 7-year-old children.

Authors
  • Rostad, Kristin
  • Pexman, Penny M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2014
Volume
68
Issue
2
Pages
122–132
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/cep0000016
PMID: 24708406
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The current experiment examined the development of children's ability to comprehend concurrent conflicting desires (i.e., both wanting and not wanting something at the same time). Participants were 4- to 7-year-old children and a group of undergraduate students (N = 20 in each age group). Results showed that the 6- and 7-year-old children understood concurrent conflicting desires at levels that were well above chance. There was evidence that even some of the 5-year-olds exhibited an emerging comprehension of conflicting desires. However, the 4-year-old children showed little ability to appreciate conflicting desire states. As such, children showed appreciation for conflicting desires at younger ages than suggested by previous research. In addition, significant relationships were observed between children's concurrent conflicting desire understanding and their theory of mind (ToM) and executive functioning (EF) skills, even after controlling for chronological and verbal age.

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