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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Infants' performance in the indirect false belief tasks: A second‐person interpretation

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Abstract Research in the last 15 years has challenged the idea that false belief attribution develops at 4 years of age. Studies with indirect false belief tasks contend to provide evidence of false belief attribution in the second year of life. We review the literature on indirect false belief tasks carried out in infants using looking and active helping paradigms. Although the results are heterogeneous and not conclusive, such tasks appear to capture a real effect. However, it is misleading to call them “false belief” tasks, as it is possible to pass them without making any false belief attribution. Infants need to keep track of the object's and agent's positions, trajectories, and focus of attention, given an intentional understanding of the agent, to pass these new tasks. We, therefore, argue that the evidence can be better explained in terms of second‐person attributions, which are transparent, extensional, nonpropositional, reciprocally contingent, and implicit. Second‐person attributions can also account for primates' mentalizing abilities, as revealed by similar indirect tasks. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Cognitive Development Philosophy > Foundations of Cognitive Science Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition
Philosophy > Foundations of Cognitive Science
Cognitive Biology > Cognitive Development

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