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Why young children think improbable events are impossible

29 January 2019

It’s unlikely that a girl would ride a hippo or that a boy would drink onion juice, but as adults we know it’s not impossible.

Researchers know, however, that up to the age of eight or so children frequently assume that improbable events are actually impossible.

In a new study, Celina Bowman-Smith at the University of Waterloo and her colleagues investigated whether asking children to consider hypothetical events in a distant, far away country helped them overcome this closed-minded thinking and realise that improbable doesn’t mean impossible.

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