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4 Theory of Mind by theoryman

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									4: Theory of Mind
Outline
 What is theory of mind?
 The development of theory of mind:
  evidence from false belief tasks
 Traditional explanation: representational
  deficit theory
 Empirical challenges to the false belief tasks
  and representational deficit theory
 Non-stage theories
    – Theory of Mind module
    – Reality Bias
   The response of representational deficit
    theorists
   Summary and learning outcomes
                                                   1
What is theory of mind (ToM)?
 „The ability to make inferences about
  others‟ representational states and to
  predict behaviour accordingly‟ (Lewis &
  Mitchell, 1994)
 Term „theory of mind‟ coined by Premack
  & Woodruff, 1978
 Allows us to understand that what we
  believe to be true and what is true may be
  different



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Alternative labels for, and Concepts about, Mindreading (Whiten, 1994)

                      Folk Psychology (Wundt, 1916)
      Consciousness of the feeling of their fellows (Thorndike, 1911)
    Imputation to others of first hand experience (Lloyd Morgan, 1930)
                     Naïve psychology (Heider, 1958)
                Second order intentionality (Dennett, 1971)
                    Intersubjectivity (Trevarthen, 1977)
               Theory of mind (Premack & Woodruff, 1978)
                   Metarepresentation (Pylyshyn, 1978)
                 Belief-desire reasoning (Davidson, 1980)
                  Natural psychology (Humphrey, 1980)
                    Social referencing (Feinman, 1982)
                  Mindreading (Krebs & Dawkins, 1984)
                     Mental simulation (Gordon, 1986)
                         Mentalising (Morton, 1989)
             Perception of intentionality (Dasser et al., 1989)
              (Mental) attribution (Cheney & Seyfarth, 1990)
              Mentalistic theory of behaviour (Perner, 1991)
             Representational theory of mind (Perner, 1991)
    What about ToM in children?
 Traditional answer: children below about 4
  years do not have theory of mind
 How do we know?
     – False belief tests:
         Unexpected transfer test (Wimmer & Perner, 1983)
         Deceptive box test (Perner, Leekam & Wimmer,
          1987; Gopnik & Astington, 1988)
     – Appearance-reality tests:
           Rock-sponge test (Flavell, Flavell & Green, 1983)




                                                                4
From Mitchell, 1997




                  5
Representational deficit theory
 AKA “theory-theory”; “theory-shift”;
  “conceptual change” etc.
 Perner, Gopnik, Wellman


 ToM develops at age 4 when there is a
  radical shift in children‟s thought processes
 Young children have representational deficit
 Evidence:
    – false belief tasks
    – cross-cultural research (Avis & Harris, 1991)
        Baka community, Cameroon
         – ToM at 5 yrs
                                                      6
Challenges to rep. deficit theory (1)
   1. Over-reliance on false belief tasks -
    false belief tasks flawed:
    – children can misunderstand the question
      (Lewis & Osborne, 1990)
    – children fail to understand and integrate key
      elements of the story (Lewis, Freeman,
      Hagestadt & Douglas, 1994)
    – children do not know that „seeing is believing‟
      (Wimmer, Hogrefe & Sodian, 1988)
    – children are not able to articulate false belief
      (Freeman, Lewis & Doherty, 1991)

                                                         7
Challenges to rep. deficit theory (2)
   2. Evidence for early ToM (before 4
    years):
    – Children perform better in naturalistic settings
      (Dunn, 1988)
    – early abilities indicate proto-ToM:
        deception (Lewis, Stanger & Sullivan, 1989;
         Chandler, Fritz & Hala, 1989)
        communicative abilities (Butterworth & Jarrett,
         1991)
        pretence (Leslie, 1987)




                                                           8
Challenges to rep. deficit theory (3)
   children can recognise lots of mental
    states at earlier ages than 4 years:
        Knowledge (vs ignorance, Leslie & Frith, 1988)
        Intention (Astington & Gopnik, 1991)

        Wanting (Wellman, 1991)

        Emotions like happy/sad (Harris, 1989, 1991)

        Seeing (Baron-Cohen, 1991)

   Belief = just one of the developmental
    transitions leading up to full ToM?



                                                          9
Challenges to rep. deficit theory (4)
   3. Evidence for later development (post-4 years):
    – Second order belief attribution (Perner & Wimmer,
      1985)


   4. Evidence that can vary the onset of ToM by
    varying task:
    – can manipulate older children and adults to fail ToM
      tasks:
    – Older children: Steverson, 1996: variant of deceptive
      box study
    – Adults: Mitchell, Robinson, Isaacs & Nye, 1996: adult
      false belief task

                                                              10
From Mitchell, 1997
          From
Mitchell, 1997
„Theory‟ or Module?
   ToMM (Theory of Mind Module/Mechanism)
    – Domain specific learning device
   Leslie (1987), Baron-Cohen (1995), Fodor (1992)
   Development of ToM is continuous process
    – Early task failure is a result of performance limitations

   Evidence from autism (see lecture 5)

   ToMM/SP (Scholl & Leslie, 1999, 2001)
    – ToM module: innate conception of belief and mental
      states
    – Selection Processing: used to inhibit default responses
        i.e.   that someone‟s belief is true
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Mitchell‟s reality bias:
   ToM is product of evolution -> must be innate
   therefore, must be present from birth
   young children fail ToM tasks because are
    guided by reality criterion
   older children: reality criterion -> less prominent -
    > can make false belief judgements
   Evidence? E.g. modification of deceptive box test
    (Mitchell & Lacohee, 1991):
     – standard version - 23% of 3 to 4 year olds
       correct
     – modified version - 63% of 3 to 4 year olds
       correct
                                                            14
From Mitchell,
1997
Challenges to the challengers (1)
   False belief tasks not flawed:
    – manipulations are artificially boosting
      children‟s performance by social scaffolding
    – Even with manipulations, lots of children
      under 4 years still fail




                                                     16
Challenges to the challengers (2)
   No evidence for early theory of mind as
    such;
    – showing pretence, deception, early
      communicative ability etc irrelevant
    – ToM defined as ability to understand other's
      belief - doesn‟t occur until age 4 (Perner,
      1991)
    – pretence, deception etc may be over
      interpreted (Perner, 1991):
        communicative abilities

        pretence

                                                     17
Challenges to the challengers (3)
   Early abilities may be precursors to real ToM but
    they don‟t mean that the shift at age 4 doesn‟t
    exist:
    – Gopnik, Slaughter & Meltzoff, 1994 - 4 conceptual
      changes in development of ToM:
        Before 30 months: foundational egocentric non-
         representational understanding of perception
        At 30 months: development of a form of
         understanding of perception and desire
        Three years: development of more complex
         understanding of desires and perspective
        4 years: realise can generalise notion of
         misrepresentation from perspective context to belief
         - formation of ToM

                                                                18
Challenges to the challengers (4)
   Evidence for later development (post-4 years)
    irrelevant:
    – c.f. puberty
   Evidence that can vary the onset of ToM by
    varying task irrelevant:
    – Fact remains that children under 4 fail the false belief
      tasks (Leslie, 1987, 1991; Scholl & Leslie, 1999)
    – Some studies not replicable (Sodian, Taylor, Harris &
      Perner, 1991)
    – The available results „support the claim that the same
      theory of mind emerges universally in the young child
      with approximately the same timetable‟ (Harris, 1990).


                                                                 19
Wellman et al‟s (2001) meta-analysis
   77 articles, 178 studies, 591 conditions.
   6 factors influence FB task performance.
   Better performance if:
    –   1) deception as motive for change
    –   2) children carry out transformation themselves
    –   3) target object not present when FB question asked
    –   4) protagonist‟s belief is explicitly stated
    –   5) country of origin
    –   6) emphasis of time frame (for 4+ yr olds) - where will
        he look first?

   But – basic development trend still observed

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Learning Outcomes
 Be able to describe and evaluate research
  on ToM development
 Be able to describe and evaluate theories
  of ToM development
 Be able to compare and contrast theories
  of ToM development
 Be aware that the issue of stage-like vs
  continuous development is relevant



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Reading
Essential Reading (on Digital Resources):
   Wellman, H.M. (2002). Understanding the psychological
    world: developing a theory of mind. In U. Goswami (Ed.)
    The Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive
    development. Oxford: Blackwell. pp.167-187. (on Digital
    Resources)
   Lee, K. & Homer, B. (1999). Children as folk
    psychologists: The developing understanding of the
    mind. In *A. Slater & D. Muir (Eds), The Blackwell
    Reader in Developmental Psychology [Book on
    restricted loan]


Further Reading
   See pdf handout
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Questions to ask
 Is the development of ToM continuous or
  discontinuous?
 What are the different theories of the
  development of ToM?
 What does the research into ToM tell us?
 Does the research support the theories?




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