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Early False-Belief Understanding.

Authors
  • Scott, Rose M1
  • Baillargeon, Renée2
  • 1 Psychological Sciences, University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Trends in cognitive sciences
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2017
Volume
21
Issue
4
Pages
237–249
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.01.012
PMID: 28259555
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Intense controversy surrounds the question of when children first understand that others can hold false beliefs. Results from traditional tasks suggest that false-belief understanding does not emerge until about 4 years of age and constitutes a major developmental milestone in social cognition. By contrast, results from nontraditional tasks, which have steadily accumulated over the past 10 years, suggest that false-belief understanding is already present in infants (under age 2 years) and toddlers (age 2-3 years) and thus forms an integral part of social cognition from early in life. Here we first present an overview of the findings from nontraditional tasks. We then return to traditional tasks and argue that processing difficulties, rather than limitations in false-belief understanding, account for young children's failure at these tasks.

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