Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Development of Imaginative Cognition1

  • Deena Skolnick Weisberg (a1)

Extract

Over the last ten years or so, many cognitive scientists have begun to work on topics traditionally associated with philosophical aesthetics, such as issues about the objectivity of aesthetic judgments and the nature of aesthetic experience. An increasingly interdisciplinary turn within philosophy has started to take advantage of these connections, to the benefit of all. But one area that has been somewhat overlooked in this new dialogue is developmental psychology, which treats questions about whether and to what extent children's intuitions about various aspects of aesthetic experience match those of adults, as well as the origins and developmental trajectories of these intuitions. The current paper reviews some recent work in developmental psychology that has the potential to inform philosophical research on a variety of topics – not necessarily because of this work tells us directly about what children think, but because learning what children's aesthetic intuitions are and how they develop can help us to better understand why adults have the intuitions that they do.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
1

The author would like to thank the organizers and attendees of the 2012 AHRC workshop on “Method in Philosophical Aesthetics: The Challenge from the Sciences” for their insightful comments and questions. Thanks also to Paul Bloom, Joshua Goodstein, Alison Gopnik, Alan Leslie, David Sobel, Lu Wang, and Michael Weisberg for their support of the projects reported in this paper.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

2 L. Guillot & P. Bloom ‘Are children interested in negative stories?’ Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Cognitive Development Society (2011).

3 This is known as the “single code theory.” See Bosco, F. M., Friedman, O., & Leslie, A. M., ‘Recognition of pretend and real actions in play by 1- and 2-year-olds: Early success and why they fail,’ Cognitive Development, 21 (2006), 310; Gendler, T. S. & Kovakovich, K., ‘Genuine rational fictional emotions,’ in Kieran, M. (Ed.), Contemporary debates in aesthetics and the philosophy of art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005); Nichols, S., ‘Imagining and believing: The promise of a single code,’ The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 62 (2004), 129139.

4 Leslie, A. M., ‘Pretense and representation: The origins of “Theory of Mind,”Psychological Review, 94 (1987), 412422; Nichols, S. & Stich, S. P., Mindreading: An integrated account of pretense, self-awareness, and understanding other minds (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

5 Gopnik, A., Glymour, C., Sobel, D. M., Schulz, L. E., Kushnir, T., & Danks, D., ‘A theory of causal learning in children: Causal maps and Bayes nets,’ Psychological Review, 111 (2004), 332; Lewis, D., ‘Causation,’ Journal of Philosophy, 70 (1973), 556567; Weisberg, D. S. & Gopnik, A., ‘Pretense, counterfactuals, and Bayesian causal models: Why what is not real really matters,’ Cognitive Science, 37 (2013), 13681381.

6 See Piaget, J., Play, dreams and imitation in childhood (New York: Norton, 1962).

7 For example, Bourchier, A. & Davis, A., ‘Children's understanding of the pretence-reality distinction: A review of current theory and evidence,’ Developmental Science, 5 (2002), 397413; Golomb, C. & Kuersten, R., ‘On the transition from pretense play to reality: What are the rules of the game?British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 14 (1996), 203217; Samuels, A. & Taylor, M., ‘Children's ability to distinguish fantasy events from real-life events,’ British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12 (1994), 417427; Woolley, J. D. & Cox, V., ‘Development of beliefs about storybook reality.Developmental Science, 10 (2007), 681693. For review, see Weisberg, D. S., ‘Distinguishing imagination from reality’ in Taylor, M. (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Development of Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

8 Woolley, J. D. & Wellman, H. M., ‘Young children's understanding of realities, nonrealities, and appearancesChild Development, 61 (1990), 946961.

9 Study 1 of Wyman, E., Rakoczy, H., & Tomasello, M., ‘Normativity and context in young children's pretend play,’ Cognitive Development, 24 (2009), 146155.

10 Onishi, K. H., Baillargeon, R., & Leslie, A. M., ‘15-month-old infants detect violations in pretend scenarios,’ Acta Psychologica, 124 (2007), 106128; D. S. Weisberg, L. Wang, & A. M. Leslie, ‘How do young children conceptualize socially constructed pretend scenarios?’ (under review).

11 Skolnick, D. & Bloom, P., ‘What does Batman think about SpongeBob? Children's understanding of the fantasy/fantasy distinction,’ Cognition, 101 (2006), B9B18.

12 Harris, P. L. & Kavanaugh, R. D., ‘Young children's understanding of pretense,’ Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 58 (1993); D. S. Weisberg, L. Wang, & A. M. Leslie, ‘How do young children conceptualize socially constructed pretend scenarios?’ op. cit.; E. Wyman, H. Rakoczy, & M. Tomasello, ‘Normativity and context in young children's pretend play,’ op. cit.

13 Study 1 of Weisberg, D. S. & Bloom, P., ‘Young children separate multiple pretend worlds,’ Developmental Science, 12 (2009), 699705.

14 For example, Currie, G., The nature of fiction (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Lewis, D., ‘Truth in fiction,’ American Philosophical Quarterly, 15 (1978), 3746; Walton, K. L., Mimesis as make-believe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990).

15 Ryan, M., ‘Fiction, non-factuals, and the principle of minimal departure,’ Poetics, 9 (1980), 403422.

16 For example, Gerrig, R. J., Experiencing narrative worlds: On the psychological activities of reading (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993); Marsh, E. J., Meade, M. L., & Roediger, H. L., ‘Learning facts from fiction,’ Journal of Memory and Language, 49 (2003), 519536; Prentice, D. A., Gerrig, R. J., & Bailis, D. S., ‘What readers bring to the processing of fictional texts,’ Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4 (1997), 416420.

17 Weisberg, D. S. & Goodstein, J., ‘What belongs in a fictional world?Journal of Cognition and Culture, 9 (2009), 6978.

18 I am grateful to Gregory Currie for his insightful discussion of these issues.

19 Weisberg, D. S., Sobel, D. M., Goodstein, J. & Bloom, P., ‘Young children are reality-prone when thinking about stories,’ Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13 (2013), 383401.

20 Sobel, D. M. & Weisberg, D. S., ‘Tell me a story: How children's developing domain knowledge affects their story construction,’ Journal of Cognition and Development (in press).

21 See Gendler, T. S., ‘The puzzle of imaginative resistance,’ Journal of Philosophy, 97 (2000), 285299; T. S. Gender, ‘Imaginative resistance revisited’ and Weinberg, J. & Meskin, A., ‘Puzzling over the imagination: Philosophical problems, architectural solutions,’ in Nichols, S. (ed.), The architecture of the imagination: New essays on pretense, possibility and fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

22 D. S. Weisberg & J. Goodstein, ‘What belongs in a fictional world?’ op. cit.

23 Brédart, S., Ward, T. B. & Marczewski, P., ‘Structured imagination of novel creatures’ faces,’ American Journal of Psychology, 111 (1998), 607625; Ward, T. B., ‘Structured imagination: The role of category structure in exemplar generation,’ Cognitive Psychology, 27 (1994), 140; Ward, T. B. & Sifonis, C. M., ‘Task demands and generative thinking: What changes and what remains the same?Journal of Creative Behavior, 31 (1997), 245259.

24 T. B. Ward, ‘Structured imagination: The role of category structure in exemplar generation,’ op. cit.

25 Shtulman, A., ‘The development of possibility judgment within and across domains,’ Cognitive Development, 24 (2009), 293309; Shtulman, A. & Carey, S., ‘Improbable or impossible? How children reason about the possibility of extraordinary events,’ Child Development, 78 (2007), 10151032.

26 Weisberg, D. S. & Sobel, D. M., ‘Young children discriminate improbable from impossible events in fiction,’ Cognitive Development, 27 (2012), 9098.

27 See D. S. Weisberg & A. Gopnik, ‘Pretense, counterfactuals, and Bayesian causal models: Why what is not real really matters,’ op. cit.

28 For example, Byrne, R. M. J., The rational imagination: How people create alternatives to reality (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005); Gopnik, A., The philosophical baby: What children's minds tell us about truth, love, and the meaning of life (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009); Hoerl, C., McCormack, T. & Beck, S. R., Understanding counterfactuals, understanding causation (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011); Seligman, M., Railton, P., Baumeister, R., & Sripada, C., ‘Navigating into the future or driven by the past,’ Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8 (2013), 119141; Weisberg, D. S., ‘The vital importance of imagination’ in Brockman, M. (ed.), What's next? Dispatches on the future of science (New York: Vintage Books, 2009).

1 The author would like to thank the organizers and attendees of the 2012 AHRC workshop on “Method in Philosophical Aesthetics: The Challenge from the Sciences” for their insightful comments and questions. Thanks also to Paul Bloom, Joshua Goodstein, Alison Gopnik, Alan Leslie, David Sobel, Lu Wang, and Michael Weisberg for their support of the projects reported in this paper.

The Development of Imaginative Cognition1

  • Deena Skolnick Weisberg (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed