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Mental Health - Neuroscience - Pediatrics and Child Health

Giving the Giggles: Prediction, Intervention, and Young Children's Representation of Psychological Events
Published: Monday, August 20, 2012
Author: Paul Muentener et al.

by Paul Muentener, Daniel Friel, Laura Schulz

Adults recognize that if event A predicts event B, intervening on A might generate B. Research suggests that young children have difficulty making this inference unless the events are initiated by goal-directed actions [1]. The current study tested the domain-generality and development of this phenomenon. Replicating previous work, when the events involved a physical outcome, toddlers (mean: 24 months) failed to generalize the outcome of spontaneously occurring predictive events to their own interventions; toddlers did generalize from prediction to intervention when the events involved a psychological outcome. We discuss these findings as they bear on the development of causal concepts.