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Theory of Mind and Representational Ability: Normal, Autistic, and Mentally Retarded Korean Children’s Understanding of False Beliefs and False Photos

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2004, 17(2), pp.81-100
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

Ghim, Hei-rhee 1 Son, Jung-woo 1 Myung-Sook Chung 2 이문숙 3 이수경 4

1충북대학교
2꽃동네대학교
3다솜신경정신과
4소운신경정신과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The present study examined the Perner(1991)'s claims that the theory of mind development depends on the acquisition of a more general cognitive ability to metarepresent, that is the ability to represent the representational relationship between a primary representation and what it represents. In order to examine the Perner's claim, five groups of autistic, mentally retarded, and normal 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds'performance on the mental representation tasks (false belief tasks and deception tasks) and physical representation tasks (out-of-date photo tasks and false photo tasks) were compared. The metarepresentation capacity is required to pass the false belief, deception, and false photo tasks in common. In contrast, the secondary representation capacity is required to pass the out-of-date photo tasks. Three-year-olds passed the out-of-date photo task, 4-year-olds passed the physical representation task, 5-year-olds passed all. In contrast autistic children passed only the physical representation task. In addition, MR children passed all even though their performance was lower than that of normal 5-year-olds. When autistic, MR, and normal 5-year-old groups were closely matched for VMA, autistic and normal groups performed significantly better on the physical representation tasks on the mental representation tasks. This finding demonstrates that the understanding of false representations precedes in the physical domain than in mental domain. suggesting the domain specific development of theory of mind.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.