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Amsel, E. et al. (2000) Beyond really and truly: Children’s counterfactual thinking about pretend and possible worlds (Book Section)

Abstract:

This fresh and dynamic book offers a thorough investigation into the development of the cognitive processes that underpin judgements about mental states (often termed 'theory of mind') and addresses specific issues that have not been adequately dealt with in the past, and which are now being raised by some of the most prominent researchers in the field.

Date:
January 2000
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
121-147
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Roese, N. et al. (2009) The Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Counterfactual thinking refers to mental constructions of alternatives to past events. In this overview of the psychological basis of counterfactual thinking, we examine how such thoughts influence emotions and carry benefits for everyday behavior. Two psychological mechanisms, contrast effects and causal inferences, can explain many of the effects of counterfactual thinking reported by psychologists. We then consider how counterfactuals, when used within expository but also fictional narratives (for example, in alternative histories), might be persuasive and entertaining.

Date:
January 2009
Volume:
34
Page/s:
16-26
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literature review
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Walker, C. et al. (2013) Pretense and possibility—A theoretical proposal about the effects of pretend play on development: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013). (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The review by Lillard et al. (2013) highlighted the need for additional research to better clarify the nature of the relationship between pretend play and development. However, the authors did not provide a proposal for how to structure the direction of this future work. Here, we provide a possible framework for generating additional research. This theoretical proposal is based on recent computational approaches to cognition, in which counterfactual reasoning plays a central role in causal learning. We propose that pretend play initially emerges as a product of the cognitive mechanisms underlying human learning and then feeds back to become critical for enhancing the optimal functioning of these same processes. More specifically, we argue that pretending is in fact 1 of several forms of counterfactual reasoning, which is essential to causal cognition—and that the act of engaging in pretend scenarios may provide early opportunities to practice the skills that were initially responsible for its appearance. Here, we provide a brief overview of this theoretical framework, consider how these ideas may be integrated with the previous work covered in Lillard et al.'s (2013) review, and suggest some empirically testable questions to direct future directions.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
139
Page/s:
40-44
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Literature review
  • Pretend play
  • Problem-solving
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: