Imagination and testimony in cognitive development: The cautious disciple?

Paul L. Harris, Melissa Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although the imagination is often associated with the contemplation of non-existent possibilities, it is also deployed to think about various non-observable but real events that are learned about via others' testimony rather than direct observation. We ask whether children gullibly believe whatever they are told about matters that they cannot verify for themselves. Emerging evidence shows that even preschool children are cautious in their trust. In particular, they seek out and endorse information from hitherto reliable informants. They also show some differentiation among different types of non-observable entity. In particular, they exhibit more credence in invisible, scientific entities (e.g. germs) than in invisible, non-scientific entities (e.g. God).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the British Academy
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Imagination and testimony in cognitive development: The cautious disciple?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this