Is the effect of age on counterfactual reasoning & emotional ascription different for boys & girls?

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Keating, Luke Christopher
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to examine the effect of age and gender in relation to counterfactual thinking and emotion and social ascriptions. The participants consisted of 60 boys and 60 girls segregated into three groups: 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12-years, who were examined for the temporal order effect across age and gender. The study was between-subjects. The first two tasks tested counterfactual thinking, and three tasks tested emotion and social ascriptions. Each group were randomly stratified into clusters of 5 and tested over 12 sessions. The study adopted scenarios from Meehan and Byrne (2005), and new graphics were created. The results illustrate that children display systematic similarities in their mutations of factual situations when they think about how an event could have turned out differently. Their emotion and social judgments follow a developmental pattern across age, but are relatively stable across gender. Future research could involve cognitive development across older children.