The present study examined whether 3- to 6-year-old children understand trait-motive-behavior causality, and whether they know that traits cause behaviors over situations. Children listened to stories each of which included a motive, behavior, and an outcome. They then labeled the main character's chief trait, and predicted the character's behavior in a different context. The results showed that 3- and 4-year-olds understood trait-motive-behavior causality, but their understanding was not as complete as that of 5-and 6 -year-olds. Children over the age of 5 understood that traits cause behaviors over situations, but only the 6-year-olds in the present study understood this completely. It was also suggested that a recency effect was observed in these young children's trait inference.
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