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The Development of Children’s Knowledge about Consciousness, pp. 187-206 $100.00
Authors:  (Nikos Makris, Dimitris Pnevmatikos, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, and others)
Abstract:
Even though there is an explosion of research regarding children‟s awareness about the nature and the functioning of the human mind during last two decades, very little of this research has focused on children‟s knowledge about consciousness and its various aspects. The present study aims at providing an insight into this topic from a developmental perspective. For this purpose, children 5, 6, 7, 9, 11 years old and young adults were asked a) to estimate whether protagonists of stories who are engaged in cognitive activities related to the activation of cognitive functions (such as memory, attention, and comprehension) and of specialized capacities (such as quantitative, imaginal, and verbal) are thinking (primary-consciousness activities), b) to determine the content of protagonists‟ thinking, c) to determine whether protagonists know that they are thinking (reflective consciousness activities), and d) whether protagonists could change the content of their thinking. Moreover, participants were asked to describe what the protagonist has to do for the effective processing of the task at hand. The results of the study showed that even though preschoolers demonstrate efficient knowledge about various aspects of consciousness the development of this knowledge undergoes several changes during childhood. Specifically, it was found that the developmental milestones of the knowledge acquisition about consciousness vary across aspects of consciousness. Also, the development of children‟s knowledge about consciousness is not necessarily linear. Moreover, it was found that children made significantly more consciousness attributions in specialized capacity situations than in general cognitive function ones. As for participants‟ estimations regarding the way that the protagonists would follow for the processing of the task at hand, it was found that not until their 10 years children are able to specify accurately the mental functions and capacities The results are discussed on the basis of the literature regarding children‟s theory of mind as well as in relation to a „person – time – condition‟ enacted conception of cognitive development. 


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The Development of Children’s Knowledge about Consciousness, pp. 187-206