Young Children Are Wishful Thinkers: The Development of Wishful Thinking in 3- to 10-Year-Old Children.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13299
Previously, research on wishful thinking has found that desires bias older children's and adults' predictions during probabilistic reasoning tasks. In this article, we explore wishful thinking in children aged 3- to 10-years-old. Do young children learn to be wishful thinkers? Or do they begin with a wishful thinking bias that is gradually overturned during development? Across five experiments, we compare low- and middle-income United States and Peruvian 3- to 10-year-old children (N = 682). Children were asked to make predictions during games of chance. Across experiments, preschool-aged children from all backgrounds consistently displayed a strong wishful thinking bias. However, the bias declined with age.