ERIC Number: ED421673
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jul
Relational Complexity and Theory-of-Mind.
Halford, Graeme S.; Andrews, Glenda; Bowden, Darryl
The concept of relational complexity is applied to explain the persistent difficulties of young children with theory of mind. Relational complexity has been found useful as a general cognitive complexity metric. Children must understand that the relation between an object and a person's percept is conditional on a third variable, such as a filter or other condition that affects a person's knowledge state. Processing three interacting variables is equivalent to a ternary relation, and this level of complexity is often difficult for young children. It was hypothesized that if relational complexity is a factor in concept of mind, it should be related to tasks at the same level of complexity in other domains. Forty-eight 3- to 5-year-olds were tested on four false belief tasks and on four appearance-reality tasks. They were also assessed on transitivity, hierarchical classification, and cardinality tasks that had previously been shown to require the same level of relational complexity. Results indicate that the performance of 3-year-olds was significantly lower than the older age groups on both the theory-of-mind and relational complexity tasks. The findings support the relational complexity interpretation of concept of mind. (Author/EMK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Poster presented at the Biennial Meetings of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (15th, Berne, Switzerland, July 1-4, 1998).