Children's understanding that ambiguous figures have multiple interpretations

Sarah Beck, AN Robinson, S Ahmed, R Abid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In three experiments we compared 5- and 6-year-old children's understanding of multiple interpretations arising from an ambiguous figure (e. g., the duck/rabbit) and other ambiguous partial input. Children found it equally easy to switch between alternative interpretations of ambiguous figures and partial views (Experiment 1, N = 19) and more difficult to accept two characters' conflicting interpretations of ambiguous figures, than partial views (Experiment 2, N = 29). Children found it more difficult to accept explicitly that one stimulus could simultaneously give rise to two interpretations, than to switch between them (Experiment 3, N = 40). Children's handling of multiple interpretations was not primarily affected by the type of input, but results suggest that there are two distinct stages in children's handling of multiple interpretations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-422
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Uncertainty
  • Theory of Mind
  • Communication
  • Knowledge
  • Ambiguity


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