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Further Evidence for Nonspecificity of Theory of Mind in Preschoolers: Training and Transferability in the Understanding of False Beliefs and False Signs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Susan Leekham, Emerita Professor Helen McConachie


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In a training study, the authors addressed whether or not preschoolers' difficulty with false belief is due to a domain-specific problem with mental states. Following Slaughter's (1998) design, 57 children who failed a false-belief (FB) pretest received two sessions of training on either an FB, false sign (FS), or control task. All children were then posttested on theory-of-mind, FS, and control tasks. Results showed the FB and FS tasks were not only empirically tested as equivalent but also potentially transferable (i.e., FB training enhanced FS posttest performance, and FS training contributed to the understanding of one's own false belief), suggesting that understanding of false beliefs is an ability of representational understanding that is not restricted to mental states.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Iao LS, Leekam S, Perner J, McConachie H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cognition and Development

Year: 2011

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Pages: 56-79

Print publication date: 02/02/2011

ISSN (print): 1524-8372

ISSN (electronic): 1532-7647

Publisher: Psychology Press


DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2011.539523


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