ERIC Number: ED332811
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Pretence and Deception: One Cognitive Watershed or Two?
A total of 48 Canadian, middle-class 3-year-olds participated in a study of their abilities to predict the actions of a story character with a false belief and a story character engaged in pretence. In the experimental situation, a red puppet with pen-markers for legs left an "inky trail" to the location of a hidden treasure in one of three cups that were placed upside down on an erasable surface. Tracks were erased, false tracks were made to an empty cup, and a duck searched for the treasure. Subjects predicted the duck's actions under two conditions. Half the subjects were told that the duck did not know that the tracks were false and did not lead to the treasure; half were told that the duck knew that false tracks were to be made and where the treasure was hidden, but the duck had agreed to pretend that the treasure was at the end of the false tracks. Two questions were asked: (1) Where will the duck look for the treasure? (2) Where will the duck think the treasure is? Findings indicated that 3-year-olds were able to predict the actions and thoughts of a character who was pretending that inky tracks lead to the treasure, but were not able to predict the thoughts and actions of a character who falsely believed the tracks led to the treasure. Findings support the claim that there are two representational watersheds: first, an understanding of pretend play, and, later, the ascription of a false belief. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).