The experimental context and the theory of mind

Graciela Inchausti de Jou Tania Mara Sperb About the authors

Fifty-eight middle-class 3 to 5 preschool children of Porto Alegre were given 3 tasks in order to examine the acquisition and development of the Theory of mind: false-belief, appearance-reality, and belief, standard and facilitated. The last one was introduced in order to investigate children's best performance on the tasks. Children's justifications to their answers were considered as another modality for the false-belief task, so children could confirm or correct their initial answers. ANOVA with repeated measures showed that 3 and 4-year-olds performed similarly, except for appearance-reality and belief, which was the easiest one. Results are discussed concerning the cognitive demands of each task. Also, children's best performance on the justification modality of the false-belief task is discussed concerning methodological issues and the assessment of children's theory of mind.

Theory of mind; false-belief; context


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