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Children’s thinking about counterfactuals and future hypotheticals as possibilities

Beck, S.R., Robinson, E.J., Carroll, D.J. and Apperly, I.A. (2006) Children’s thinking about counterfactuals and future hypotheticals as possibilities. Child Development, 77 (2). pp. 413-426. ISSN 1467-8624

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Two experiments explored whether children's correct answers to counterfactual and future hypothetical questions were based on an understanding of possibilities. Children played a game in which a toy mouse could run down either 1 of 2 slides. Children found it difficult to mark physically both possible outcomes, compared to reporting a single hypothetical future event, "What if next time he goes the other way …" (Experiment 1: 3–4-year-olds and 4–5-year-olds), or a single counterfactual event, "What if he had gone the other way …?" (Experiment 2: 3–4-year-olds and 5–6-year-olds). An open counterfactual question, "Could he have gone anywhere else?," which required thinking about the counterfactual as an alternative possibility, was also relatively difficult.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 by the Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Daniel J. Carroll
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2007 18:23
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00879.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing - Published on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00879.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1813

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