Children attribute mental lives to toys when they are emotionally attached to them

Nathalia L. Gjersoe, Emily L. Hall, Bruce Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anthropomorphism of toys has been portrayed in popular culture
with notable examples such as children’s fairy stories, and,
more recently, in movies like Toy Story. However, studies of children’s
attitudes toward inanimate objects suggest that they do not
attribute mental states to toys. In two studies using a mental state
induction technique, we demonstrate that children do exhibit this
tendency with toys that are also their attachment objects. Attribution
of mental states to objects was not simply due to familiarity,
category membership, or perceptual similarity to sentient beings,
but rather to emotional attachment combined with personifying
features such as a face.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Development
Volume34
Early online date6 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Anthropomorphism
  • Attachment Toys
  • Security Blankets

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