Accelerating the Development of Second-Order False Belief Reasoning: A Training Study With Different Feedback Methods

Arslan, B., Verbrugge, R., Taatgen, N. & Hollebrandse, B., Jan-2020, In : Child Development. 91, 1, p. 249-270 22 p.

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  • Accelerating the Development of Second-Order False Belief Reasoning: ATraining Study With Different Feedback Methods

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One-hundred-six 5-year-olds' (Mage = 5;6; SD = 0.40) were trained with second-order false belief tasks in one of the following conditions: (a) feedback with explanation; (b) feedback without explanation; (c) no feedback; (d) active control. The results showed that there were significant improvements in children's scores from pretest to posttest in the three experimental conditions even when children's age, verbal abilities, or working memory scores were controlled for. The training effect was stable at a follow-up session 4 months after the pretest. Overall, our results suggest that 5-year-olds' failures in second-order false belief tasks are due to lack of experience and that they can be helped over the threshold by exposure to many stories involving second-order false belief reasoning, including why questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages22
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
Early online date26-Nov-2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2020


  • article, child, female, follow up, human, human experiment, male, pretest posttest design, reasoning, working memory, THEORY-OF-MIND, MENTAL STATES, EXECUTIVE CONTROL, MIDDLE CHILDHOOD, CHILDRENS THEORY, LANGUAGE, REPRESENTATION, METAANALYSIS, TRANSITION

ID: 71231755