PerspectivePsychology

Infants' Insight into the Mind: How Deep?

Science  08 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5719, pp. 214-216
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111656

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Summary

Understanding that others may act based on false beliefs is considered a uniquely human ability. Children are thought to develop an understanding of false beliefs around 4 years of age, which implicates a tie to a cultural process involving language. However, as Perner and Ruffman discuss in their Perspective, a new study (Onishi and Baillargeon) suggests that infants as young as 15 months may have insight into whether a person acts on the basis of a mistaken view (false belief) about the world. Perner and Ruffman argue that the behavior of 15-month olds in this study does not mean that they necessarily understand belief.

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