- November 5, 2012
- In technology
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I just came across this article in Developmental Psychology that looks at how young children — 3-to-5 year olds — understand what’s ‘real’ and what is not:
During the preschool years, children develop an understanding of 2 types of real/not-real distinctions: ontological status and authenticity (Bunce & Harris, 2008). As expected, all children discriminated between the real entities and toys and dressing-up, and they justified their judgments on the basis of authenticity. In contrast, only older children consistently discriminated between the real entities and fictional characters on the basis of ontological status. In Study 2, the real and not-real entities were presented as pairs rather than individually to define the intended contrast. This manipulation increased children’s ability to discriminate between the real and not-real entities on the basis of authenticity. Together, these results support the hypothesis that understanding reality status on the basis of authenticity develops before ontological status.
In short, we distinguish between different types of real: stuff that’s materially in front of them, and stuff that’s fake. Why does the internet short-circuit this type of strategic thinking, I wonder?