|Budget Amount *help
¥3,700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥3,700,000)
Fiscal Year 2004 : ¥1,300,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,300,000)
Fiscal Year 2003 : ¥2,400,000 (Direct Cost : ¥2,400,000)
Nine studies examined children's awareness of psychosomatic phenomena.
In Studies 1 and 2, one-hundred fifty-six children in 5-, 6-, 8-, and 11-year old groups, and fifty adults, were asked about the possibility of psychogenic bodily reactions as bodily ailments with origins in the mind. Young children typically denied that bodily conditions could originate in mental states.
Studies 3 and 4 investigated Japanese adults' beliefs of psychosomatic phenomena. Thirty undergraduate students gave explanations for why mental states lead to bodily outcomes. These adults did not demonstrate a detailed and specific explanatory framework for psychogenic bodily reactions. Their explanations were based on two ideas, first that the mind and body are mutually related. The second idea was that mind and body exchange some unspecified energy (vital-force or stress) in the body or environment.
Studies 5, 6, and 7 consisted of interviews with 101 children in preschool through fifth grade, and 42 adults, and showed that even young children noticed that taking in physical energy is good for physical and mental health, although they tended to believe they could totally control emotions by intention. Young children's difficulties in understanding psychosomatic phenomena may have involved their incorporating the mind into a bio-mechanical model of causation.
Finally, in Studies 8 and 9, the role of experiences and social information on children's awareness was examined. Study 8 demonstrated that children's awareness did not depend on their previous experiences of psychosomatic diseases. Mothers in Study 9 seldom gave causal explanations for psychogenic bodily reactions.
Based on these results, we cannot conclude that preschoolers have clear awareness of the mutuality of mind-body relations. But children do seem to have some primitive conceptual abilities for understanding phenomena that cross biology and psvcholoav.