The belief that everything, whether animate or inanimate, possesses a soul or spirit. It is a fundamental system of belief in the religions of numerous pre-industrial societies. In philosophy, the term can be applied to the view that in all things consciousness, or something mind-like exists. In developmental psychology, an animistic stage in the early thought and speech of the child has been described, notably by Jean Piaget (French, 1896-1980).Also see anthropomorphism.