How children approach the false belief test: social development, pragmatics, and the assembly of Theory of Mind
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (1):181-201 (2022)
AbstractEvidence from the knowledge access task and the diverse belief task suggests that, before age four, children may find it difficult to attribute false beliefs to others, despite demonstrating a basic comprehension of the concept of belief. Challenging this view, this article assumes a sociopragmatic perspective on language to argue that even children younger than four may not understand at all the concept of belief but may nevertheless master naïvely the pragmatics of belief reports in specific conversational contexts. The proposal suggests a novel interpretation of both the reasons behind younger children’s difficulty with (elicited-response) false belief tasks, and the critical factors enabling children’s success in them. On the one hand, it proposes that younger children fail (elicited-response) false belief tasks because they do not understand the importance of focusing on an agent’s (verbally ascribed) mental states to infer her practical commitments. On the other hand, it suggests that children’s active engagement in conversations where the caregiver credits an agent with a belief is the critical factor integrating their initially scattered mastery of the pragmatics of belief reports, teaches them to track belief reports across contexts, and accordingly shapes their understanding of belief as a representational mental state.
Similar books and articles
Pragmatic Development and the False Belief Task.Evan Westra - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):235-257.
What is the Role of Experience in Children's Success in the False Belief Test: Maturation, Facilitation, Attunement or Induction?Marco Fenici - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (3):308-337.
Embodied Social Cognition and Embedded Theory of Mind.Marco Fenici - 2012 - Biolinguistics 6 (3--47):276--307.
Theory of mind and the origins of divergent thinking.Thomas Suddendorf & Claire Fletcher-Flinn - 1997 - Journal of Creative Behavior 31:169-179.
Don’t Mention the Marble! The Role of Attentional Processes in False-Belief Tasks.Paula Rubio-Fernández & Bart Geurts - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):835-850.
Children’s first and second-order false-belief reasoning in a verbal and a low-verbal task.Bart Hollebrandse, Angeliek van Hout & Petra Hendriks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3).
Children's first and second-order false-belief reasoning in a verbal and a low-verbal task.Bart Hollebrandse, Angeliek Hout & Petra Hendriks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3).
Children's False Belief Understanding and Social-Emotional Correlates Individual and Developmental Differences.Carla Baetz - 1998
Children’s Application of Theory of Mind in Reasoning and Language.Liesbeth Flobbe, Rineke Verbrugge, Petra Hendriks & Irene Krämer - 2008 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17 (4):417-442.
A simple explanation of apparent early mindreading: infants’ sensitivity to goals and gaze direction.Marco Fenici - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):497-515.
True Belief Belies False Belief: Recent Findings of Competence in Infants and Limitations in 5-Year-Olds, and Implications for Theory of Mind Development.Joseph A. Hedger & William V. Fabricius - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):429-447.
Perceptual access reasoning: developmental stage or system 1 heuristic?Joseph Hedger - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (2):207-226.
Mental files and belief: A cognitive theory of how children represent belief and its intensionality.Josef Perner, Michael Huemer & Brian Leahy - 2015 - Cognition 145 (C):77-88.
How Do Young Children Process Beliefs About Beliefs?: Evidence from Response Latency.Peter Mitchell Haruo Kikuno - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (3):297-316.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
References found in this work
Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Authority and Estrangement: An Essay on Self-Knowledge.Richard Moran - 2001 - Princeton University Press.