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Development of historical understanding among 9- to 14-year old children


The study attempted an understanding of the cognitive process involved in appreciation of history and the developmental pattern of the same. A test of Historical Understanding (HU) was constructed consisting of items which were similar to historical situations, but real historical episodes were not included in order to avoid any effect of prior knowledge and memory of historical facts. The test items were pilot tested and refined. A random sample of 15 children, 9–14 years of age (Grades 4, 6 and 8), was administered the test with clinical probing followed by an interview to assess children’s idea of past and history. The findings revealed that appreciation of the difference between past and history, chronology, and historical imagination emerged early by 9 years of age developing further with age/Grade. Development of some dimensions such as empathy and critical analysis appeared late by 13–14 years.

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Correspondence to Shalini Dixit.

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Dixit, S., Mohanty, A. Development of historical understanding among 9- to 14-year old children. Psychol Stud 54, 54–64 (2009).

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  • Development of historical understanding
  • Teaching history
  • Nature of history