Staying alive

Staying alive

Researchers have found that human-centered reasoning among children is not universal after all:

Children’s experience, including the extent of their day-to-day interactions with the natural world and their sensitivity to the belief systems of their communities, influences their reasoning about the natural world.

For instance:

[T]he researchers noted that while children generally are taught in school that only plants and animals are alive, the traditional Menominee notion of “alive” includes natural inanimates, such as rocks and water, and may even include artifacts, depending on the purpose for which they were made.


It may, in fact, reflect a cultural model that is prevalent in the media for young children, for example, stories and films in which animals talk, sing, and act like humans.

Since the pattern displayed by young urban children is “not a universal starting point for development,” it would be terrific to hear more stories from kids on this.