Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cognition. 2009 Aug;112(2):337-42. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 Jun 13.

Eighteen-month-old infants show false belief understanding in an active helping paradigm.

Author information

  • 1Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


Recently, several studies have claimed that soon after their first birthday infants understand others' false beliefs. However, some have questioned these findings based on criticisms of the looking-time paradigms used. Here we report a new paradigm to test false belief understanding in infants using a more active behavioral response: helping. Specifically, the task was for infants to help an adult achieve his goal - but to determine that goal infants had to take into account what the adult believed (i.e., whether or not he falsely believed there was a toy inside a box). Results showed that by 18 months of age infants successfully took into account the adult's belief in the process of attempting to determine his goal. Results for 16-month-olds were in the same direction but less clear. These results represent by far the youngest age of false belief understanding in a task with an active behavioral measure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center