Psychometric Approach to Child Animism



The phenomenon of child animism as an important characteristic of child worldview has been studied by psychologists since the middle of 19th century. The experimental ways of obtaining this phenomenon are widely discussed and criticized in modern psychology. Some researchers question the presence of animism in child worldview, linking it to non-adequate methods of research. In this article the author aims at finding adequate method of research in child animism. The article provides the results of 4 empirical researches, conducted under the author’s supervision in 2002—2004. In these researches the pair comparison method and the rating method were used to investigate child animism and other characteristic features of child reasoning about living and non-living things/beings. Well-known objects, represented on cards, were used as research stimuli. On hundred and thirty children from 3 to 6 years old participated in the research. It is supposed that child ideas about life might correspond to not dichotomic paradigm, but to quasi-continual scale of “livingness”. The psychometric methods allow us to identify this scale. The obtained data confirm the fact of significant difference of child reasoning about living and nonliving from normative reasoning. However, the purely animistic response becomes non-typical among modern children till the end оf preschool age.

General Information

Keywords: child animism, pair comparison method, rating method, scale of “livingness”

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Meshcheryakov B.G. Psychometric Approach to Child Animism. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2005. Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 70–86. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)



Information About the Authors

Boris G. Meshcheryakov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Psychology, FSGN, State University “Dubna”, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the International Scientific Journal "Cultural-Historical Psychology", Dubna, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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