Paper - Do action-based tasks evidence false-belief understanding in young children?

  • Metadata:
    • author: Marina Kammermeier, Markus Paulus
    • title: Do action-based tasks evidence false-belief understanding in young children?
    • year: 20182018

    • url: Weblink
  • Background:
    • Duplo Task:
      • A lego figure places a banana in one of two boxes.
      • The figure looks away, and the banana is switched.
      • Children are asked "What happens next" and can play with the scene (It is not explicitly asked where the figure will search for the banana)
  • Research Question:
    • A previous study, Rubio-Fernandez & Geurts (2013) claimed that 80% of 36 month-olds let the figure search in the box where it put the banana itself, indicating that they understand false beliefs and actually have a theory of mind.
    • Can we replicate this?
  • Study 1:
    • Method:
      • Replication attempt of Duplo Task with 3, 4, and 5 y.o.
    • Result:
      • Success rates: 85% for 4 y.o., 100% for 5 yo, but only chance level for 3 y.o.
      • Failed replication
  • Study 2:
    • Method:
      • Duplo Task, Smarties Task, and Location False Belief Task
    • Result:
      • Success rate of the Suplo task is significantly better than in the other two tests for 3 y.o., HOWEVER: The base rate of a child with no Theory of MindTheory of Mind
        .
        for the smarties task is 0%, for the Duplo task it's 50% (?), as the child does not think of the task as being about false beliefs in the first place.
  • Discussion:
    • The previous findings about 36 month-old children having a theory of mind were not replicated.
    • Comparing the Duplo Task to traditional false belief measures is difficult/nonsensical.