Children Are Naturally Skeptical of Santa Claus

First, researchers asked children between the ages of 3 and 9 about the possibility of various extraordinary events, some possible and some impossible. None of the events were related to Santa or to Christmas. (Shtulman used his own 4-year-old son as a “data point” in the study.)

Next, the researchers asked children to help write a letter to Santa. Although children were free to include whatever they wanted, they were specifically encouraged to ask Santa some questions.

“What we found is that the better children were able to differentiate possible events from impossible events, the more often they asked Santa pointed questions about his extraordinary activities in their letters, such as ‘How do you fit inside a chimney?’ and ‘How do you make your sled fly?’” Shtulman says. “Children who were not yet able to differentiate possible events from impossible events tended to ask more mundane questions, like ‘What are your elves' names?’ and ‘What do your reindeer do during the summer?’”

In other words, according to Shtulman, the better that children were able to differentiate possible events from impossible events, the more likely they were to begin questioning the mythology surrounding Santa, even though all still believed (at the time of testing) that Santa exists. (Children typically stop believing in Santa by the age of 8 or 9, Shtulman says.)


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Santa Claus (0.919864): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
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 Do You Believe in Santa Claus?
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Bonar, Samantha B. (December 15, 2014), Do You Believe in Santa Claus?, Retrieved on 2015-03-21
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: skepticism