The myth of Santa Claus is as alive and well with today's children as it was with their great-grandparents' generation, a team of psychologists has concluded. Based on questionnaires completed by 895 Lincoln, Neb., children aged 8 to 13 and a similar study of 1,500 children done in Lincoln in 1896, the psychologists found that the principal difference was in the kids' view of the nature of Santa. The earlier generation was much more likely to ascribe superhuman powers to him than today's children are. "Perhaps today's children, raised with Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Batman and the Bionic Woman, find Stanta Claus a bit lackluster as a mythic figure," observed the psychologists, who published their findings in Psychology Today. About half the children in both generations came to realize on their own that Santa is a myth, but there was a striking difference in how the remainder found out. While in 1896 about a quarter learned the truth from other children and about a quarter from their parents, fully 40 percent of today's kids find out from their parents. "It may simply be that modern parents have been so impressed by the need to be honest with their children that, at the first glimmering of doubt, in the child, they decide to tell all . . ." the psychologists say. Finally, the psychologists -- Ludy T. Benjamin Jr., Jacqueline F. Langley and Rosalie J. Hall -- discovered that kids are about six months older on the average when they learn that Santa isn't real. "One possible explanation for this is that, in some ways, children toward the end of the 19th century were actually more in touch with the adult world than are children today" because the economy of the time forced them into the world of work sooner.