Young Children's Understanding of Belief and Communicative Intention
17 May, 1986
17 May, 1987
30 Jun, 1987
Four-to 7-year-old children were tested for their ability to explain a story protagonist's action in terms of his truthful or deceptive communicative intentions in a situation where explicit consideration of the protagonist's belief state was necessary. This necessity arose because the protagonist, who intended to correctly inform or deceive another person about the location of an object, himself held a false belief about that location. Most children as young as 4 to 5 years were able to relate the protag on its's action either to his communicative intention or to his false belief but only very few were able to relate the action to belief and deceptive intention simultaneously. This integration of belief and deceptive intention was achieved by a majority of 6-to 7-year-olds. Results are discussed in terms of the conflict in truth values between subject's knowledge, speaker's belief and speaker's deceptive intention.
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