An Ownership-Advantage in Preschoolers’ Future-Oriented Thinking

AbstractThe ability to anticipate the future improves markedly across the preschool years. One major area of improvement is in children’s ability to consider their future preferences. Whereas 5-year-olds understand they will prefer adult items in the future, 3-year-olds indicate they will continue to prefer child items. In the present research, we show that preschoolers (N=120) show an ownership-advantage in their future-oriented thinking—they are better able to indicate which objects they will own as adults than to indicate what they will like. These findings are informative about the basis for children’s difficulty anticipating their future preferences, and also reveal differences between how children think about ownership and preferences.

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