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Flashcards in Understanding the mind Deck (32)
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1

What are 2 folk-psychological principles?
How to folk-psychological principles link to theory of mind?

1. Perception leads to belief/knowledge, which leads to intention, which leads to action
2. Basic emotions/physiology leads to desire, which leads to intention, which leads to action
Understanding folk-psychological principles = understanding of theory of mind

2

What is theory of mind?

Ability to understand that different people have different viewpoints, perspectives and beliefs
Ability to distinguish between self and others

3

Why is it beneficial to understand theory of mind?

Understanding theory of mind is beneficial because it allows us to efficiently communicate with others, interpret what others say and deceive others (e.g. when children play hide-and-seek)

4

Outline observational evidence of early understanding of theory of mind.
What does this suggest?

Older 2yo use mental verbs (e.g. ___ wants...) and talk about the mind
Suggests the young children are sensitive to mental states and understand folk-psychological principles/theory of mind

5

Outline behavioural evidence of early understanding of theory of mind (Baldwin, 1993).
What does this suggest?

Child and experimenter each have a toy with nonsense names; when the child is looking at their toy, the experimenter says the nonsense name of their toy; the child looks at experimenter, observes what the experimenter is looking at and knows that they are referring to the experimenter's toy (Baldwin, 1993)

6

Outline evidence showing explicit understanding of the theory of mind (Repacholi and Gopnik, 1997).
What does this suggest?

Child hears experimenter express desire/preference for something different to what the child prefers; 18mo can give experimenter food that experimenter expressed desire/preference for (Repacholi and Gopnik, 1997)
Suggests that young children seem to understand alternative preferences, meaning basic understanding of the theory of mind is innate (doesn't mean they understand alternative perspectives)

7

What do false-belief tasks involve?

Children must understand that others have different beliefs so must distinguish between 'self' and 'others'

8

What is the unexpected-transfer task?

A type of false-belief task where a target is put in one location that a character and the child knows, then the target is moved to a new location that the child only knows

9

What is the Sally-Ann task?

Type of unexpected-transfer task
Sally puts a marble in a basket; Sally leaves the room; Ann moves the marble to the box; Sally comes back; where will Sally look for the marble?

10

How do young children perform in the unexpected-transfer/Sally-Ann task?
What does this suggest about the theory of mind?

Young children answer by saying that Sally will look where the marble is, so fail to acknowledge false belief
Suggests that young children don't understand the theory of mind

11

What is the deceptive box task?

Children are shown a Smarties box, then are asked what they think is inside, and will say 'Smarties'; the experimenter reveals that pencils are actually inside (unexpected); the child is asked what another child will think is inside

12

How do young children perform in the deceptive box task?
What does this suggest about the theory of mind?

Young children answer by saying that another child will think pencils are inside, so fail to acknowledge false belief
Suggests that young children don't understand the theory of mind

13

What is the appearance-reality test?

A task where children must distinguish between appearance and reality
Children are shown an object resembling a rock then are asked what they think it is, will say 'rock'; children are then shown that it is actually a sponge (unexpected) and are asked what they thought it was

14

How do young children perform in the appearance-reality test?

When asked what they thought it was, young children (3-4yo) say sponge and fail to distinguish between appearance and reality

15

How does the appearance-reality test relate to false-belief tasks?

Children who fail the appearance-reality test tend to fail false-belief tasks

16

At what age do children first pass false-belief tasks?
What does this suggest about the theory of mind?

4yo - understanding of the theory of mind develops in typically-developing children at around 4yo

17

What is the conceptual deficit argument of why 3yo fail false-belief tasks?

3yo fail because they lack conceptual understanding of false-belief and the theory of mind
Failure is due to children's lack of understanding, not the task as false-belief tasks are a fair estimate of children's understanding

18

What is the performance argument of why 3yo fail false-belief tasks?

3yo fail due to pragmatic problems whereby they misunderstand what the experimenter is asking or the intention behind the question (Lewis and Osborne, 1990)
Failure is due to the task as tasks underestimate children's understanding

19

According to the performance argument, how can we improve performance on false-belief tasks?

Change questions e.g. include temporal marker to make time reference clear ("where will Sally look first?" - Siegal and Beattie, 1991)
This helps some, but not all, 3yo

20

What is the competence argument of why 3yo fail false-belief tasks?

3yo fail because they have no understanding of mental states due to lack of necessary processing capacity or inhibitory control
Failure is due to children's incompetence, not task

21

What is the embarrassment hypothesis of why 3yo fail false-belief tasks?
Is this supported?

3yo say what is really inside to avoid the embarrassment of admitting they didn't initially know what was inside
Not supported - Wimmer and Hartl (1991) - deceptive box task where Austrian TV puppet Kasperl acted as a confederate; children saw Smarties box, said Smarties were inside, then were shown that pencils were actually inside; 3yo failed to acknowledge false-belief and said that Kasperl initially thought pencils were inside the box; not due to embarrassment as Kasperl was stupid so him getting answer wrong wouldn't be embarrassing

22

Outline evidence that children younger than 3yo can pass non-verbal false-belief tasks.

15mo looked longer when experimenter looked for an object in place inconsistent with experimenter's false belief, meaning they expected experimenter to look in place object initially was and acknowledged false belief implicitly (Onishi and Baillargeon, 2005)
Understanding of false beliefs replicated in 13mo (Surian et al., 2007) and 25mo infants (Southgate et al., 2007)

23

If children younger than 3yo can pass non-verbal false-belief tasks, why do 3yo fail false-belief tasks?

Due to additional demands of verbal false-belief tasks

24

What is state change?
How do young children (3-4yo) perform on state change tasks (Wimmer and Hartl)?

Children are shown a Smarties box which the experimenter opens to reveal Smarties, then replaces with pencils (unexpected) in front of child; children are asked "when you first saw this box, before it was opened, what did you think was inside?"
Over 80% of 3-4yo gave correct answer (Wimmer and Hartl)

25

According to Wimmer and Hartl, why do 3yo fail the deceptive box task but pass the state change task?

Young children lack concept of belief so misunderstand questions referencing thought such as "what did you think was inside?" so would ignore references to though and respond to question as "what was inside?" - the correct answer in the deceptive box task is 'pencils' and the correct answer in the state change task is 'Smarties'

26

Is Wimmer and Hartl's argument supported?

No - Saltmarsh et al. (1995) - 3yo were shown a Smarties box and asked to guess what was inside (they said Smarties); the experimenter opened the lid to reveal a toothbrush (unexpected), then replaced this with pencils (also unexpected); children were then asked "what did you think was inside the box when you first saw the box?" (they incorrectly said pencils); asked "what was inside at beginning?" (they correctly said toothbrush)

27

What is the mailing procedure (Mitchell and Lacohee, 1991)?

The mailing procedure makes the initial belief salient and more accessible while assessing understanding of false-belief
Children were shown a Smarties box and guessed that Smarties were inside; then had to choose a picture of what they thought was inside and chose a picture of Smarties; then had to 'mail' picture; the experimenter opened the box to reveal pencils (unexpected); children were then asked "when you mailed your picture, what did you think was inside the box?"
>60% answered correctly and said Smarties

28

Why might young children give the correct answer in state change tasks?

Because state change tasks test prior true belief rather than false-belief and young children only lack understanding of the latter

29

What environmental factors correlate with performance on false-belief tasks?

Parents (children of parents that spontaneously talk about mental states more when child 33mo pass false-belief tasks 6 months later - Dunn et al., 1991; children who have more contact with parents pass false-belief tasks earlier - Lewis et al., 1996)
Siblings (children with siblings pass false-belief tasks earlier - Perner et al., 1994; siblings are only beneficial is they're older - Jenkins and Atkinson, 1996)
Birth order (first-borns tend to have higher general intelligence so might perform better on false-belief tasks than second- or third-borns)

30

How does cognition correlate with performance on false-belief tasks?

Children with better cognitive abilities perform better on false-belief tasks