The role of belief veracity in understanding intentions-in-action: preschool children's performance on the transparent intentions task

Russell, James and Hill, Elisabeth L. and Franco, Fabia (2001) The role of belief veracity in understanding intentions-in-action: preschool children's performance on the transparent intentions task. Cognitive Development, 16 (3). pp. 775-792. ISSN 0885-2014

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Abstract

It is possible to have either true or false beliefs about what one is currently doing (an ‘intention-in-action’; [Searle, J. R. (1983). Intentionality: an essay in the philosophy of mind. New York: Cambridge University Press.]). The theory-theory account of the development of ‘mentalising’ skills between 3 and 4 years of age predicts that younger children should find false intentions-in-action more difficult to report than true intentions-in-action. In contrast, an executive theory of development at 3 and 4 years of age would predict that the perceived outcome of the action at the time of questioning should determine the younger child's answer, with the truth-value of the past belief playing no role. We presented 3- and 4-year-old children with a novel drawing task—the transparent intentions task—in order to pit these two accounts against each other. The truth-value of the child's (or a puppet's) intention-in-action played no role in performance. Incorrect answers referred to the unexpected final outcome of the drawing. This result supports the executive theory.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Language, Learning and Cognition group
Citations on ISI Web of Science:7
ID Code:2991
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Deposited On:05 Nov 2009 05:27
Last Modified:15 Oct 2014 12:31

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