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Do the wrong thing: How toddlers tell a joke from a mistake

Hoicka, Elena and Gattis, Merideth Leigh ORCID: 2008. Do the wrong thing: How toddlers tell a joke from a mistake. Cognitive Development 23 (1) , pp. 180-190. 10.1016/j.cogdev.2007.06.001

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We investigated whether 19–36-month-olds (1) differentiate mistakes from jokes, and (2) understand humorous intentions. The experimenter demonstrated unambiguous jokes accompanied by laughter, unambiguous mistakes accompanied by the experimenter saying, “Woops!”, and ambiguous actions that could either be a mistake or a joke, accompanied by either laughter or, “Woops!” Toddlers were asked to try. Nineteen- to 36-month-olds differentiated jokes and mistakes by copying unambiguous jokes and correcting unambiguous mistakes. Only 25–36-month-olds differentiated mistakes and humorous intentions by copying ambiguous actions marked by laughter, and correcting those marked by, “Woops!” Understanding humorous intentions precedes understanding intentions behind pretense, lying, and false beliefs, thus may be a first step in understanding that others can intend to do the wrong thing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0885-2014
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:47

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