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Project title: Toddlers’ and preschoolers’ understanding of complex intentions

Primary supervisor: Dr Elena Hoicka

Project description: A large body of research has found that infants understand that others can act intentionally from 12 months. However young children’s understanding of intentions does not stop developing at this point. For instance, toddlers do not understand complex intentions, such as intending to do the wrong thing, until 2 years (e.g., joking). Furthermore, intentions involve much more complexity than simply whether or not someone is acting intentionally. Importantly, intentions explain why someone would act in the way they do. For instance one could intend to run because they are trying to get fit, or because they are trying to catch a bus. Yet this aspect of intentionality has been little explored in developmental research. The aim of this project is thus to determine whether toddlers and pre-schoolers are aware of specific intentions.

Formal enquiries should be addressed to: Dr Elena Hoicka (e.hoicka@sheffield.ac.uk)

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