ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2007, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (01): 104-110.

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  1. 北京大学心理学系,北京,100871
  • 收稿日期:2005-10-14 修回日期:1900-01-01 出版日期:2007-01-30 发布日期:2007-01-30
  • 通讯作者: 苏彦捷

Influence of Special Syntax Cues on the False Belief Understanding in 3-4-year-olds


  1. Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
  • Received:2005-10-14 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2007-01-30 Published:2007-01-30
  • Contact: Su Yanjie

摘要: 通过在错误信念任务中,为儿童提供关于错误信念表征的特定句法,考察这种句法理解对儿童的错误信念理解成绩是否有促进作用。124名3-4岁幼儿参加实验,每个年龄组幼儿随机分配到零级提示,一级提示和二级提示等三个句法提示条件组,并完成4个错误信念任务。结果发现,一级提示条件和二级提示条件下的错误信念理解成绩显著高于零级提示条件下的错误信念理解成绩,而一级和二级两种提示条件之间没有显著差异。句法提示对不同的错误信念任务的影响是相同的,对错误信念的预测问题和解释问题的影响模式是一致的。表明对错误信念表征的特定句法提示,有效促进了儿童的错误信念成绩,提示这种句法结构可能有助于儿童的错误信念理解

关键词: 错误信念理解, 心理理论, 特定句法提示

Abstract: Language skills play an important role in the development of theory of mind in children. According to de Villiers’ point, complement syntax is a prerequisite of false belief understanding, because it provides a powerful framework for children’s representation of false belief state. Some other researchers questioned this point.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of complement syntax on false belief understanding in Chinese preschoolers. The hypotheses were (1) according to de Villiers, providing the complement syntax framework including a mental verb could improve the performance on false belief tasks, (2) the special syntax cues could have different influence on unexpected content tasks and location transferred tasks, despite their similar influence on prediction questions and explanation questions in false belief tasks.
A total of one hundred and twenty-four 3- or 4-year-old preschoolers were administered with four false belief tasks. Each age group was divided into three subgroups, in which three types of special syntax cues were manipulated. These syntax-cuing conditions were called zero level, first level and second level cuing, respectively. The participants were not given any syntax cue in the zero level subgroup; the first level subgroup was given a partial syntax cue, such as “where did the boy (a character in the false belief story) think the chocolate was?” The second level subgroup was given a fully syntax cue, such as “the boy thinks that the chocolate was in the cupboard”. In each false belief task, the participants were asked a prediction question as well as an explanation question. They obtained one score if they answered one question correctly.
The results showed that the performance of the false belief tasks in the first and second level syntax-cuing conditions was significantly better than the performance in the zero level condition; however, there was no significant difference between the first and the second level conditions. There was also no significant difference of the syntax-cuing effects between location transferred task and unexpected content task. A similar pattern was found when comparing the performance on prediction questions with the performance on explanation questions. This indicated that the special syntax cues significantly facilitated children’s false belief understanding. Finally, the role of the special syntax on the false belief understanding was discussed

Key words: False belief, Theory of mind, Special syntax cues