Let me introduce you to Mr. Smart and Heroman. Mr. Smart is really, really clever—so clever that he knows everything, like what’s inside a closed box. Heroman is not so smart, but he does have a special power: Heroman has X-ray vision—he can see inside the closed box.
Mr. Smart and Heroman played a starring role in a fascinating piece of research recently undertaken by Jonathan Lane and Henry Stevenson, a grad student and a professor of psychology, respectively, at the University of Michigan. They were interested in how children come to form their ideas about magical beings.