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ERIC Number: ED358927
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Assessing False Belief Attribution in Preschool Children: The Validity of the Unexpected-Object/Familiar-Container Paradigm.
Speer, James Ramsey; Wiederhold, Cheryl
To assess young children's understanding of false belief, investigators often show them a familiar container, then demonstrate that it holds an object different from the one the children expected. The children are then asked what they originally thought the container held, and what another container will hold. Three-year-old children typically answer with the name of the unexpected object. This behavior is usually interpreted to mean that children cannot comprehend false belief. To test this interpretation, two experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, 3-year-old children's answers to belief questions did not differ between conditions in which the questions employed the word "think" and conditions in which a nonsense word replaced "think." The second experiment found that, unlike 3-year-olds, 4-year-old children responded differently to belief questions containing "think" than to questions in which a nonsense word was substituted. Results from these experiments seem to demonstrate that 3-year-old children may not understand the relevant sense of the word "think," and therefore, that the common version of the paradigm of the familiar container and the unexpected object is not suitable for assessing their understanding of false belief. Contains 21 references. (Author/MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A