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How to pass the false-belief task before your fourth birthday.

Rubio-Fernández, P; Geurts, B; (2013) How to pass the false-belief task before your fourth birthday. Psychol Sci , 24 (1) 27 - 33. 10.1177/0956797612447819. Green open access

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Abstract

The experimental record of the last three decades shows that children under 4 years old fail all sorts of variations on the standard false-belief task, whereas more recent studies have revealed that infants are able to pass nonverbal versions of the task. We argue that these paradoxical results are an artifact of the type of false-belief tasks that have been used to test infants and children: Nonverbal designs allow infants to keep track of a protagonist's perspective over a course of events, whereas verbal designs tend to disrupt the perspective-tracking process in various ways, which makes it too hard for younger children to demonstrate their capacity for perspective tracking. We report three experiments that confirm this hypothesis by showing that 3-year-olds can pass a suitably streamlined version of the verbal false-belief task. We conclude that young children can pass the verbal false-belief task provided that they are allowed to keep track of the protagonist's perspective without too much disruption.

Type: Article
Title: How to pass the false-belief task before your fourth birthday.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0956797612447819
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797612447819
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2013. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm). PMCID: PMC4107839
Keywords: Age Factors, Attention, Child, Preschool, Culture, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Orientation, Theory of Mind
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1378733
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