Animism in two generations: an investigation of selected personality factors
Billingham, Robert Emil
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Cognitive development has, the past few years, become one of the most heavily researched areas of human development. The cognitive developmental theory of Jean Piaget (1929, 1930, 1952) has been the major focus of this research. The present study was also an investigation of one of the many aspects of Piaget's theory. The present study focused on Piaget (1929) theory of animism because animistic beliefs were believed, by Piaget, to be the most basic form of thinking. If this is indeed the case then the study of animism should lead to understanding the very basis for an individual's conception of the world. Several personality factors, both those that are inseparatable from the individual (sex, race, and locus of control), those which are primarily in the environment (parents education and family ideology), and those which are to·a great extent under the control of the child (parent/child relationship and school achievement) were investigated in terms of animism. Two hundred sixty five subjects (96 children, 95 mothers, and 74 fathers) from a public school system in northern Alabama volunteered to take part in the study. Each subject completed an .Animism Test and the parents filled out a family ideology questionnaire while the children filled out a locus of control test. The results of the study supported Piaget's (1929) theory of animistic development. However, the results also indicated that language, both the child's and adult model's, may play a significant role in the animistic development of children.
- Doctoral Dissertations