Do children think that duplicating the body also duplicates the mind?

Bruce Hood, Nathalia L Gjersoe, Paul Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (SciVal)


Philosophers use hypothetical duplication scenarios to explore intuitions about personal identity. Here we examined 5- to 6-year-olds' intuitions about the physical properties and memories of a live hamster that is apparently duplicated by a machine. In Study 1, children thought that more of the original's physical properties than episodic memories were present in the duplicate hamster. In Study 2, children thought that episodic memories of the hamster were less likely to duplicate than events captured by a digital camera. Studies 3 and 4 ruled out lower-level explanations of these effects. Study 5 showed that naming the original hamster further reduced the inferred duplication of memories in the second hamster. Taken together, these studies are consistent with the view that young children think that some mental properties are distinct from physical ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-474
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Concept Formation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intuition
  • Male
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical


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