Jesse Bering recaps a new study that asked children to guess which box held a ball. Some children were informed that a doll, or "Princess Alice," would send them a sign, in which case researchers flipped a light or made a picture frame fall from the wall:
The Princess Alice findings are important because they tell us that, before the age of seven, children’s minds aren’t quite cognitively ripe enough to allow them to be superstitious thinkers. The inner lives of slightly older children, by contrast, are drenched in symbolic meaning.
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