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The Problem with 3-Year-Olds

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I review a variety of theories that attempt to explain how young infants are able to pass spontaneous false belief tests, and then ask whether any of these approaches can explain the 3-year-olds' failure on standard, elicited FB tests. I argue that some of these approaches fail to provide adequate explanations, and I defend an embodied enactive approach that I think does a better job. The primary reason 3-year-olds fail at the elicited FB tests is not due to language problems, the complexity of the situation, or the number of perspectives involved, but because the saliency of the second-person interaction with the experimenter takes precedence over the third-person task.

Keywords: behaviour rules; enactivism; false belief test; interaction; simulation theory; theory of mind

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philosophy, University of Memphis (USA); School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire (UK); Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong (AU)., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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