Three studies investigated the scope of children’s difficulty with mind-body interactions by asking them to reason about the consequences of psychogenic bodily reactions, that is, ailments or physiological responses with origins in the mind (e.g., stress-induced headache). In Study 1, 56 children (preschool through 2nd grade) learned of a series of psychogenic reactions and were asked which physical and/or psychological actions could cure each one. In Study 2, the same cures were presented to 16 preschoolers for a series of psychological events. Study 3 highlighted either symptom or cause of each bodily reaction for adults. Adults reported that only psychological treatments are effective cures for psychogenic reactions. In contrast, young children reported that only physical treatments are effective cures for psychogenic reactions. Results suggest that mindbody interactions may pose conceptual difficulties for people of all ages, but the nature of the difficulty changes over development.
Notaro, Paul C.; Gelman, Susan A.; and Zimmerman, Marc A.
"Biases in Reasoning About the
Consequences of Psychogenic
Bodily Reactions: Domain
Boundaries in Cognitive Development,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 48:
4, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol48/iss4/6