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Relating developments in children's counterfactual thinking and executive functions

Beck, Sarah R.; Riggs, Kevin J.; Gorniak, Sarah L.


Sarah R. Beck

Sarah L. Gorniak


The performance of 93 children aged 3 and 4 years on a battery of different counterfactual tasks was assessed. Three measures: short causal chains, location change counterfactual conditionals, and false syllogisms—but not a fourth, long causal chains—were correlated, even after controlling for age and receptive vocabulary. Children's performance on our counterfactual thinking measure was predicted by receptive vocabulary ability and inhibitory control. The role that domain general executive functions may play in 3- to 4-year olds' counterfactual thinking development is discussed.


Beck, S. R., Riggs, K. J., & Gorniak, S. L. (2009). Relating developments in children's counterfactual thinking and executive functions. Thinking and Reasoning, 15(4), 337-354.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Oct 26, 2009
Publication Date 2009-11
Journal Thinking and Reasoning
Print ISSN 1354-6783
Electronic ISSN 1464-0708
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 4
Pages 337-354
Keywords Counterfactual thinking; Imagination; Inhibition; Reasoning; Working memory
Public URL
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