Developing Concepts of the Mind, Body, and Afterlife: Exploring the Roles of Narrative Context and Culture

Journal of Cognition and Culture 16 (1-2):50-82 (2016)
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Abstract

Children and adults from theus and China heard about people who died in two types of narrative contexts – medical and religious – and judged whether their psychological and biological capacities cease or persist after death. Most 5- to 6-year-olds reported that all capacities would cease. In theus, but not China, there was an increase in persistence judgments at 7–8 years, which decreased thereafter.uschildren’s persistence judgments were influenced by narrative context – occurring more often for religious narratives – and such judgments were made especially for psychological capacities. When participants were simply asked what happens to people following death, in both countries there were age-graded increases in references to burial, religious ritual, and the supernatural.

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