ERIC Number: EJ929740
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Tracking Speakers' False Beliefs: Is Theory of Mind Available Earlier for Word Learning?
Houston-Price, Carmel; Goddard, Kate; Seclier, Catherine; Grant, Sally C.; Reid, Caitlin J. B.; Boyden, Laura E.; Williams, Rhiannon
Developmental Science, v14 n4 p623-634 Jul 2011
Happe and Loth (2002) describe word learning as a "privileged domain" in the development of a theory of mind. We test this claim in a series of experiments based on the Sally-Anne paradigm. Three- and 4-year-old children's ability to represent others' false beliefs was investigated in tasks that required the child either to predict the actions of a protagonist in a story or to learn the meaning of a new word used by the protagonist. Experiment 1 replicated previous findings of better performance in a false belief word-learning task compared to a false belief action-prediction task. However, systematic manipulation of the task parameters in Experiments 2 and 3 revealed that this performance discrepancy disappeared when tasks were equated in their "referential pull" (Perner, Rendl & Garnham, 2007). We conclude that the notion of a precocious theory of mind for word learning is not required to explain dissociations in performance on false belief tasks.
Descriptors: Theory of Mind, Cognitive Development, Science Education, Child Development, Investigations, Task Analysis, Preschool Children, Beliefs, Word Recognition, Learning Strategies, Science Experiments
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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