Early representations of ownership

New Dir Child Adolesc Dev. 2011 Summer;2011(132):39-51. doi: 10.1002/cd.295.


To navigate a world filled with private property, children must be able to assign ownership information to objects and update that information when appropriate. In this chapter, the authors propose that children include ownership as an attribute of their object representations. Children can learn about ownership attributes either by witnessing owners acting on their property, a visual source, or by receiving information from the testimony of others, a verbal source. The authors consider the differences between these two forms of information and how they might conflict at the representational level, leading to difficulties in learning about ownership.

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Learning
  • Object Attachment*
  • Ownership*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior