Please wait a minute...
   2006, Vol. 38 Issue (03) : 349-355     DOI:
|
The Perspective Bias in Children’s Mental-State Reasoning
Fu Li,Su Yanjie
Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Download: PDF(686 KB)  
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    
Abstract  Introduction Children younger than 4 years old often have difficulties in understanding others’ mental states (e.g., beliefs). One explanation for these difficulties is what is referred to as “the curse of knowledge” or a tendency to be biased by one’s own knowledge when appreciating an ignorant perspective. It is different from egocentric bias in that the curse of knowledge is asymmetric. The present study aimed to investigate the characteristics of the curse of knowledge in different tasks (knowledge-attribution and desire-attribution) and, particularly, to identify whether there is also an asymmetric bias in children’s desire for understanding.
Method
Two experiments were conducted based on 108 participating children ages 3 to 5 years old. In Experiment 1, a knowledge-attribution task was administered to these children. The children were asked to judge whether a puppet would know what was in a container (a box or an envelope), with which the children were either familiar or unfamiliar. Two conditions for children’s knowledge were designed. One was that children were knowledgeable of what was inside the container. The other condition was that children were unknowledgeable. In Experiment 2, a desire-attribution task was administered. The children were told of presents a puppet liked or disliked and were asked to choose a present for the puppet according to its likes and dislikes.
Results
The results showed that children demonstrated an egocentric bias in the knowledge-attribution task. When the children themselves were knowledgeable of the contents inside the container, they tended to overestimate the puppet’s knowledge of it. However, when the children were ignorant of the contents, they tended to underestimate the puppet’s knowledge. In contrast, children demonstrated an asymmetric bias in the desire-attribution task. Younger children at the age of 3 tended to assume their own favorite as that of the puppet’s even though the reality was otherwise. However, all participating children made much more successful inferences when their own preferences did not interfere.
Discussion and conclusion
The inconsistent findings in the two tasks might result from the differences of the task requirements and the contradiction between children and the character in the tasks. In the knowledge-attribution task, the conflict between children and the character was the only knowledge state about the reality. However, in the desire-attribution task, the conflict involved the desire. Because knowledge state was a kind of neutral state, whereas desire involved emotion, the degree of conflict differed between the two tasks. Furthermore, desire - attribution might require much more cognitive control to inhibit one’s own preference, which might be related to the asymmetric bias. Thus, in contexts requiring less cognitive control, children tended to be able to take others’ perspective much more easily than in a more conflicting context. In conclusion, the results suggest that perspective bias in younger children’ s mental state reasoning is context specific
Keywords mental state      theory of mind      perspective bias      children     
:  B844  
Corresponding Authors: Su Yanjie   
Issue Date: 30 May 2006
Service
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
RSS
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
Fu Li,Su Yanjie. The Perspective Bias in Children’s Mental-State Reasoning[J]. ,2006, 38(03): 349-355.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2006/V38/I03/349
[1] YANG Wanqing, XIAO Rong, LIANG Dandan. Lexical tone perception mechanism in 2- to 4-year-old Mandarin-speaking children in the pre-attention stage[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(6): 730-741.
[2] YAO Yao,CHEN Xiaoxiang. The effects of music training on categorical perception of Mandarin tones in 4- to 5-year-old children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(4): 456-468.
[3] ZHAO Xin,LI Hongli,JIN Ge,LI Shifeng,ZHOU Aibao,LIANG Wenjia,GUO Hongxia,CAI Yaya. Effects of phonological memory and central executive function on decoding, language comprehension of children in different grades[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(4): 469-484.
[4] HE Xiaoling,CHEN Jun. Cognitive development of multiple metaphors of power concepts in 3~5 year-old children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(2): 149-161.
[5] JIN Xinyi,ZHOU Bingxin,MENG Fei. Level 2 visual perspective-taking at age 3 and the corresponding effect of cooperation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(9): 1028-1039.
[6] HUANG Liang,YANG Xue,HUANG Zhihua,WANG Yiwen. Brain spatio-temporal dynamics of understanding kind versus hostile intentions based on dyadic body movements[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(5): 557-570.
[7] HUANG Xiaoxiao,ZHANG Baoshan,ZHANG Yuan,MA Yuting. Effects of meta-stereotype on aggressive behavior among migrant children and the mediating effect of frustration[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(4): 484-496.
[8] LI Quan,SONG Yanan,LIAN Bin,FENG Tingyong. Mindfulness training can improve 3-and 4-year-old children’s attention and executive function[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(3): 324-336.
[9] Mingliang ZHANG, Jiwei SI, Weixing YANG, Shufen XING, Hongxia LI, Jiajia ZHANG. Interaction effects between BDNF gene rs6265 polymorphism and parent-involved education on basic mathematical ability in primary school children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(9): 1007-1017.
[10] Dongjie XIE, Hao LU, Yanjie SU. Pay-forward effect of resource allocation in preschoolers: Role of theory of mind and empathy[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(9): 1018-1028.
[11] Xinghua FAN, Xiaoyi FANG, Yuesheng HUANG, Fengju CHEN, Si YU. The influence mechanism of parental care on depression among left-behind rural children in China: A longitudinal study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(9): 1029-1040.
[12] CHENG Yahua, WANG Jian, WU Xinchun.  The role of morphological awareness in Chinese children’s reading comprehension: The mediating effect of word reading fluency[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(4): 413-425.
[13] WANG Yan, QIAN Xiaoyun, TIAN Qian, GAO Jun, LI Xiaoxu.  Parent-child relationship and the comparison between parents and their children on their children’s mate preference[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(1): 91-100.
[14] LIANG Feifei; WANG Yongsheng; YANG Wen; BAI Xuejun. The modulation of reading level on the development of children’s eye movement characteristics: Evidence from 9- to 11-year-old children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(4): 450-459.
[15] GUO Haiying; CHEN Lihua; YE Zhi; PAN Jin; LIN Danhua. Characteristics of peer victimization and the bidirectional relationship between peer victimization and internalizing problems among rural-to-urban migrant children in China: A longitudinal study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(3): 336-348.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed   
Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech