A visit from the Candy Witch: factors influencing young children's belief in a novel fantastical being

Dev Sci. 2004 Sep;7(4):456-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00366.x.


Factors hypothesized to affect beliefs in fantastical beings were examined by introducing children to a novel fantastical entity, the Candy Witch. Results revealed that among older preschoolers, children who were visited by the Candy Witch exhibited stronger beliefs in the Candy Witch than did those who were not. Among children who were visited, older children had stronger beliefs than did younger children. Among children who were not visited, those with a high Fantasy Orientation believed more strongly than did those with a low Fantasy Orientation. Belief remained high one year later. At both time points, the number of other fantastical beings in which a child believed was significantly related to belief in the Candy Witch.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Concept Formation*
  • Fantasy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Reality Testing