Jonathan Lane

Jonathan D. Lane received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan (UM) and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. His work examines children’s conceptual and social-cognitive development, with one major focus being children’s understanding of the extraordinary and supernatural. In studying children at various points in conceptual development and children from different cultural contexts, his work is designed to reveal developmental universals as well as individual differences in children’s understanding of the social world, science, and the supernatural. His work on these topics has been published in several journals. He recently received a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Email:

Posts by Jonathan Lane

April 1, 2013

Children’s Understanding of Divine Minds and Prayer

Ideas about divine beings that possess extraordinary mental capacities, including omniscience, are found in the doctrines of many religions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism,Hinduism and Judaism. Such ideas are also integral to believers’ personal conceptualizations of divine beings. For years, I have been interested in how we come to cognitively represent or imagine the idea of an omniscient being; my PhD dissertation was focused on how this idea develops in children and adults. It turns out that this idea is grasped slowly over the course of development, and may not be firmly understood until adolescence or adulthood.