You can’t always want what you get: Children's intuitions about ownership and desire
Noles, Nicholaus S.
Gelman, Susan A.
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Ownership is a central element of human experience. The present experiments were designed to examine the influence of psychological state on ownership judgments. In three experiments, 4-year-olds were asked to make ownership attributions about owners and non-owners who either desired or did not desire a gift. Despite exhibiting a clear sensitivity to the desires of others, children made accurate ownership attributions independent of individuals’ desires. At the same time, there are subtle influences of desires on children's ownership judgments, as well as subtle influences of ownership on children's desire judgments. Thus, the two factors are largely but not wholly distinct in young children's thinking.