Signs of Pretense Across Age and Scenario

A Lillard, T Nishida, Davide Massaro, V Amrisha, L Ma, J. Mcroberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Participation in imagined worlds is a hallmark of the human species, and yet we know little about the context of its early emergence. The experiments reported here replicated and extended in 2 directions Lillard and Witherington’s (2004) study of how mothers pretend to have snacks, across different ages of children (15- to 24-month-olds, Experiment 1) and to a different scenario (personal grooming, Experiment 2). Mothers’ pretend behaviors changed little as infants aged, but there were some scenario differences. Most striking in this research was the consistency with which particular maternal pretend behaviors were associated with children engaging in pretense behaviors and smiling. The findings are discussed with refer- ence to the child’s emerging skills in joint attention and social referencing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Pretense
  • children


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