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Abstract The Development of Children's Religious Concepts: Challenge to the Piagetian Paradigm Myung-Bok Yoo (Assistant Professor, BaekSeok University) Cognitive-development theories have caused two waves of research on the development of religious concepts. An initial wave of research was spawned in the 1960s by the application of Piagetian theory to the study of concepts of God, prayer, and faith. A second wave of research, beginning in the 1990s, was sparked by new theories of cognitive development that distinctly emphasized the early intuitive, domain-specific nature of knowledge and turned attention to the representation of distinctively supernatural kinds of agents and actions. In Piagetian paradigm, the development of God concepts in human cognition has been explained anthropomorphically. In other words, for children especially, God is a big, superhuman who lives in the sky. However, recent empirical research on the development of these concepts may suggest an alternative hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that children may be cognitively equipped to understand some properties of God in a non-anthropomorphic way. Religious concepts become conceptually much more similar to those of adults. This study also reviewed the research on the development of children's beliefs about the concept of prayer. Particularly, this review focused Wooly and Phelips' research. Their research revealed significantly more sophisticated concepts of prayer than in previous studies, including an earlier understanding of its mentalistic nature. They proposed a new developmental trajectory for children's understanding of prayer


Abstract The Development of Children's Religious Concepts: Challenge to the Piagetian Paradigm Myung-Bok Yoo (Assistant Professor, BaekSeok University) Cognitive-development theories have caused two waves of research on the development of religious concepts. An initial wave of research was spawned in the 1960s by the application of Piagetian theory to the study of concepts of God, prayer, and faith. A second wave of research, beginning in the 1990s, was sparked by new theories of cognitive development that distinctly emphasized the early intuitive, domain-specific nature of knowledge and turned attention to the representation of distinctively supernatural kinds of agents and actions. In Piagetian paradigm, the development of God concepts in human cognition has been explained anthropomorphically. In other words, for children especially, God is a big, superhuman who lives in the sky. However, recent empirical research on the development of these concepts may suggest an alternative hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that children may be cognitively equipped to understand some properties of God in a non-anthropomorphic way. Religious concepts become conceptually much more similar to those of adults. This study also reviewed the research on the development of children's beliefs about the concept of prayer. Particularly, this review focused Wooly and Phelips' research. Their research revealed significantly more sophisticated concepts of prayer than in previous studies, including an earlier understanding of its mentalistic nature. They proposed a new developmental trajectory for children's understanding of prayer