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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


Psychometric Approach to Child Animism 950


Meshcheryakov B.G.
Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Senior Researcher, Dubna State University, Dubna, Russian Federation, Dubna, Russia

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.

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

Column: Empirical Research

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