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Breaking the rules: Do infants have a true understanding of false belief?

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Breaking the rules: Do infants have a true understanding of false belief?

Yott, Jessica (2011) Breaking the rules: Do infants have a true understanding of false belief? Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

It has been suggested that infants’ performance on the false belief task can be explained by the use of behavioural rules. To test this hypothesis, 18-month-old infants were trained to learn the rule that an object that disappeared from location A could be found in location B. Infants were then administered a false belief task based on the violation of expectation paradigm, an intention understanding task, and a modified detour retrieval task. Results revealed that infants looked significantly longer at the display when the experimenter looked for the toy in the full box (box with the toy) compared to infants who observed the experimenter search in the empty box (box without the toy). Results also revealed significant correlations between infants’ looking time at the display, score on the intention task, and score on the detour retrieval task. Taken together, these findings suggest that infants possess an implicit understanding of false belief. In addition, they challenge the view that success in the implicit false belief task does not require executive functioning abilities.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Yott, Jessica
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:July 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Poulin-Dubois, Diane
Keywords:Theory of Mind; False Belief; Executive Functioning; Infancy
ID Code:35780
Deposited By:JESSICA YOTT
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 11:16
Last Modified:21 Nov 2011 11:16
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