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The Development of Theory of Mind Reasoning in Micronesian Children

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In this study, the development of false-belief understanding was investigated among 3–5-year-old Yapese and Fais children in Micronesia. Sixty-nine children took part in an experiment investigating their understanding of false belief with a culturally adjusted surprise content task, which has been widely used in Theory of Mind (ToM) research and was first introduced by Hogrefe, Wimmer and Perner (1986). The results show that as in western cultures, 3-year-old Micronesian preschoolers do not display understanding of false belief measured with classical false-belief tasks, while 5-year-olds do. These findings contribute to research on the universality and cultural variability of cognitive development in preschool age children.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada


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