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Learning From Harry Potter

Subbotsky Eugene

Doctor of Psychology

Professor, the department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Great Britain

CR0 2GG, Velikobritaniya, London oblast', g. Croydon, ul. Saffron Square, 11

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Abstract: In article the role of magic thinking in mental development of the child is analyzed. Questions are considered: Whether children believe in magic or only play it? Whether interest in magic is so strong, as well as interest in the new physical phenomena? Whether it is possible to use magic thinking for acquisition by children of useful cognitive skills, or it is suitable only for entertainment? Researches showed that children of preschool and early school age really believe in reality of the magic. Preschool children and younger school students show much stronger interest in research of magic events, than in research of the new physical phenomena. Experiments confirmed the assumption that display of movies with impossible events and beings stimulates some informative functions of children (such as visual comparison and creative thinking) in much bigger degree, than display of the movie with equally interesting, but possible events and beings. At last, it was shown that inclusion of trade brands in a context of the impossible promotes the subsequent recognition of brands in much bigger degree, than inclusion of similar brands a context of equally interesting possible events. Prospects of use of magic thinking in school practice are discussed. Novelty: (1) The role of children's magic thinking in acquisition by children of knowledge and useful cognitive skills is for the first time considered; (2) The analysis of a problem about a ratio of children's magic thinking and training in scientific subjects is new; (3) The idea about creation of "alternative textbooks" – textbooks on physics, biology, psychology and other disciplines in which known laws of the nature wouldn't be observed is put forward, and were broken. Conclusions: (1) Involvement of children in magic thinking stimulates some informative functions of children (such as visual comparison and creative thinking) in much bigger degree, than display of the movie with equally interesting, but possible events and beings (effect "advantages impossible over possible"; (2) The effect reason "advantages impossible over possible" that the thinking about the possible involves only a narrow circle of mental functions (perception and short-term memory). On the contrary, the thinking about the impossible involves all palette of such functions (perception, memory, thinking, imagination and emotions) that provides stronger activation at the child of some useful skills; (3) Magic thinking of the child - not "false understanding of reality" and not a hindrance to scientific thinking, and the new, yet not mastered by psychology material for optimization of mental development and training.

This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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