|Author(s)||Anna Emilia Berti|
|Editor||Alistair Ross, Young people in Europe|
Comments: This paper reviews the theoretical and practical significance of cross-sectional and intervention studies on children?s understanding of economic and political institutions. Many cross-sectional studies conducted in the Piagetian framework related children's conceptions to stage-dependent characteristics, such as the availability of concrete or formal logic operations. In the past 15 years domain specific view has supplanted Piagetian theory: this suggests these conceptions are the result of the interaction between information available to children of a certain age and the ?nadve theories? present at that age, which constrain interpretation of information. Intervention studies teaching children complex economic and political notions have been strikingly successful, especially compared with those in physics and natural sciences, where students misinterpret or never acquire scientific notions. The relative ease with which children learn about economic and political ! topics adds to the argument for more instruction about society at elementary school level.