Yes it has relevance to character development. I was just reading through a story I wrote recently about a pair of primary school kids: a boy and the girl who lives across the road from him. They've been BFFs for a while, and have this cute kiddie game where they kiss on the cheek when the meet every day. Now i won't go into great deal, but an incident occurs at school involving a bully who picks on the little couple for their friendship (think "oooh, they're kissing. yuk!"). Anyway, the boy is embarrassed and tells the girl that they should stop the kissing game and just be normal friends. The girl just smiles and says "ok!" I read some notes I jotted from that story and they say that the boy was hurt because it wasn't a game to him, but he thinks it was to her. On the other hand, the girl was of the same mindset, but pretended to think it was just a game so she could hide how sad she was. My question is this: is it possible for nine year olds to have that kind of abstract thinking? as in, hiding their true feelings to avoid hurting someone else? I've been pondering on that little thought experiment for a while now. And my conclusion is no - I mean, seriously, not even people in their thirties have that kind of mental ability, much less a little kid. But I wanted to get some other ideas.