Do children think that duplicating the body also duplicates the mind?

Hood, Bruce; Gjersoe, Nathalia L. and Bloom, Paul (2012). Do children think that duplicating the body also duplicates the mind? Cognition, 125(3) pp. 466–474.



Philosophers use hypothetical duplication scenarios to explore intuitions about personal identity. Here we examined 5- to 6-year-olds’ intuitions about the physical properties and memories of a live hamster that is apparently duplicated by a machine. In Study 1, children thought that more of the original’s physical properties than episodic memories were present in the duplicate hamster. In Study 2, children thought that episodic memories of the hamster were less likely to duplicate than events captured by a digital camera. Studies
3 and 4 ruled out lower-level explanations of these effects. Study 5 showed that naming the original hamster further reduced the inferred duplication of memories in the second hamster. Taken together, these studies are consistent with the view that young children think that some mental properties are distinct from physical ones.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 35136
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0010-0277
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Not SetNot SetLeverhulme Trust, UK, , Portugal
    Not SetNot SetThe Bial Foundation, Portugal
    Not SetNot SetPerrott-Warwick Trust, UK.
  • Keywords
  • Identity, Haecceity, Duplication, Dualism
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Research Group
  • Childhood and Youth
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
  • Depositing User
  • Nathalia Gjersoe