Children readily think about people’s minds when they think about artworks

Melissa L. Allen*, Norman H. Freeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
265 Downloads (Pure)


Art education includes activating two sources for developmental change. One resource that can be called upon to promote developmental change is external to the child, encouraged by teaching and by exposure to artworks. The other resource acts as a pacemaker internal to the child’s own cognitive development, facilitated by some conception of the minds of artists and viewers. Studies show how children become interested in the intentions which give rise to artworks and to subsequent exhibition to the viewing public. A natural grasp of intention is readily activated in experimentation by psychologists; and might profitably be mobilized by educators in helping children develop their ideas about possible relations between artworks, artists, and viewers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalEmpirical studies of the arts
Issue number1
Early online date16 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Structured keywords

  • Developmental (Psychological Science)
  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education


  • cognitive development
  • representation
  • pictures
  • theory of mind
  • intention
  • art


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