Children’s Beliefs about Miracles

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, 20 E Dean Keeton Street, Austin, tx 78712, USA
  • 2 The University of Texas, Dell Medical School, Seton Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency, 4312 Scales Street, Austin, tx 78723, USA
  • 3 *Corresponding author, e-mail: woolley@austin.utexas.edu

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The goal of the present study was to assess the nature and development of children’s concepts of miracles — their understanding of what miracles are, their beliefs in miracles, and their use of miracles as an explanatory device. A total of 36 7–12-year-old children attending an Episcopal school were given a combination of tasks and structured interview questions. Parents filled out a family religiosity questionnaire. Results revealed multi-faceted conceptions of miracles, along with a high level of belief, and indicated that children considered miracles an effective explanatory construct. We apply these findings to the general question of how children learn to explain their world.

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