ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 27-37.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00027

• Research Methods • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Spontaneous-response Tasks in the Theory of Mind in Infancy

QIAN Miao;FU Genyue   

  1. Department of Psychology, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
  • Received:2013-07-02 Online:2014-01-15 Published:2014-01-15
  • Contact: FU Genyue


Understanding false belief is considered the hallmark of theory of mind (ToM). However, estimates of the onset of this ability vary substantially depending on the way it is measured. On explicit response assessments of false beliefs, children usually do not succeed until about four years of age. However, on more recently developed spontaneous-response tasks they are able to succeed by as early as 15-months of age. Three possible explanations for this discrepancy in performance on these different types of tasks are discussed: the competence-masking account, the implicit-knowledge account, and the perspective-tracking account. In order to distinguish between these accounts it is recommended that future research focus on testing special populations of children, such as individuals who are deaf and those with ASD.

Key words: theory of mind, spontaneous-response task, eye movement