A simple explanation of apparent early mindreading: infants’ sensitivity to goals and gaze direction

Marco Fenici
Università degli Studi di Firenze
According to a widely shared interpretation, research employing spontaneous-response false belief tasks demonstrates that infants as young as 15 months attribute (false) beliefs. In contrast with this conclusion, I advance an alternative reading of the empirical data. I argue that infants constantly form and update their expectations about others’ behaviour and that this ability extends in the course of development to reflect an appreciation of what others can and cannot see. These basic capacities account for infants’ performance in spontaneous-response false belief tasks without the need to assume the existence of a cognitive module specific for mental state attribution. My proposal suggests a plausible explanatory strategy for the problem of the representational format of the information processed in spontaneous-response false belief tasks
Keywords Theory of mind  Social cognition  Mind reading  False belief test  Action prediction
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-014-9345-3
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References found in this work BETA

Direct Perception in the Intersubjective Context.Shaun Gallagher - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):535-543.
False-Belief Understanding in Infants.Renée Baillargeon, Rose M. Scott & Zijing He - 2010 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):110-118.

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