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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02508

Fourteen- to eighteen-month-old infants use explicit linguistic information to update an agent’s false belief

  • 1Sungshin Women's University, South Korea
  • 2Yonsei University, South Korea
  • 3Other, South Korea

The present research examines how infants use linguistic information to update an agent’s false belief about an object’s location. Fourteen- to 18-month-old infants first watched a series of events involving two agents, a ball, and two containers (a box and a cup). Agent1 repeatedly played with the ball and then put it in the box in the presence of agent2. In agent1’s absence, agent2 switched the ball’s location from the box to the cup. When agent1 returned, agent2 told her, “The ball is in the cup!” Agent1 then reached for either the cup (cup event) or the box (box event). The infants looked reliably longer if shown the box event as opposed to the cup event. However, when agent2 simply said, “The ball and the cup!”, which does not provide explicit information about the ball’s new location, infants looked reliably longer if shown the cup event as opposed the box event. These findings thus provide new evidence for false-belief understanding in infancy and suggest that infants expect an agent’s false belief to be corrected only by explicit verbal information.

Keywords: Infancy, False-belief understanding, Theory of Mind, Verbal information, Psychological reasoning, cognitive development

Received: 28 Jun 2019; Accepted: 23 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Jin, Kim, Song, Kim, Lee, Lee, Cha and Song. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Hyun-joo Song, Yonsei University, Seoul, 120-749, Seoul, South Korea, hsong@yonsei.ac.kr