Children's mental representation of referential relations
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
We identify a surprising discrepancy in children's performance in two tasks which appear superficially to require handling of the same properties of the representational mind. Four- to six-year-olds made judgements about the knowledge of a protagonist who had only partial information about an object: the child knew that an object in a box had two descriptions, X and Y (e.g. dice and eraser), but the protagonist had access to only one of these, X. In Experiment 1, children who passed a standard false-belief task also judged correctly that the protagonist did not know the X was Y, but often judged wrongly that he did know there was a Y in the box. In Experiment 2, children predicted wrongly where the protagonist would look for a Y: the problem was not purely linguistic. We argue that success on standard theory-of-mind tasks can be supported by a more basic representing ability than is assumed in current theories, and that children's mental representation of referential relations between the world and the mind subsequently undergoes important change.
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jul 1998|