A recent psychology study has reportedly suggested that children younger than age 5 “have emerging knowledge of brands that are relevant in their lives.” Anna McAllister and T. Bettina Cornwell, “Children’s Brand Symbolism Understanding: Links to Theory of Mind and Executive Functioning,” Psychology & Marketing, March 2010. Noting previous research suggesting that “brand symbolism understanding does not develop until 7 to 11 years of age,” the study authors nevertheless found that younger children not only recognize brands, but are already beginning to understand brands “as social systems.” McAllister and Cornwell first asked 38 children ages 3 to 5 to identify brand-name logos for 50 brands across 16 product categories, including fast food. The researchers then interviewed 42 3-to-6 year olds to determine their brand symbolism understanding. “Surprisingly, there were children as young as 3 who were making very strong judgments when comparing McDonald’s and Burger King,” one author was quoted as saying. “If you have a feeling that your child is very mature socially, you might want to put some more effort into monitoring their TV time or access to advertisements, because those are the kids who are really taking a lot away when they see an ad.” See MSNBC.com, March 9, 2010.