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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1980-1981;12(1):1-13.

The nature of the life concept across the life-span.


In this study of people ranging from six to over sixty-five years of age, a high frequency of animistic responses was found in all ages examined. While a significant age effect was noted in the ability to categorize animate objects accurately, animistic responding was generally unrelated to logical classification ability or to analytic cognitive style. For eleven- to thirteen-year-olds, however, a significant relationship between animism and both cognitive style and classification ability existed. An interpretation of the results which found high levels of animistic thinking beyond adolescence does not support Piagetian theory. Rather, adults may respond animistically because of emotional attachments which they have formed to a certain meaningful physical objects.

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