Evans, V. C., Berthiaume, V. G., & Shultz, T. R. (2010).
Toddlers’ transitions on non-verbal false-belief tasks involving a novel
location: a constructivist connectionist model. Proceedings of the Ninth IEEE International Conference on Development
and Learning (pp. 225-230)
Some argue that children learn a Theory of Mind (ToM), the understanding that others have mental states, at around 3.5 years. This is evidenced by their transition from failure to success on verbal false-belief tasks, when they begin to verbally predict an actress will search for a toy where she falsely believes it to be, rather than in its actual location. However, non-verbal measures have recently been used to show that children in their second year of life may already have some understanding of others’ false beliefs. We present a Sibling-Descendant Cascade-Correlation neural-network model of one study that found 25-month-old toddlers correctly anticipated an actress would search according to her false belief. Networks were trained on true- and false-belief search patterns, simulating toddlers’ everyday experience with true and false beliefs, and then tested on non-verbal true- and false-belief tasks involving a novel location. Networks transitioned from incorrectly predicting true-belief searches in both true- and false-belief tasks to making correct predictions in both tasks. Our model thus (1) reproduced the transition that has been observed in older children and (2) generalized its learning to a novel location. The model can be used to refine our understanding of the transitions while again demonstrating the usefulness of SDCC as an algorithm for modeling cognitive development.
Abstracts, papers, chapters, and other documents are posted on this site as an efficient way to distribute reprints. The respective authors and publishers of these works retain all of the copyrights to this material. Anyone copying, downloading, bookmarking, or printing any of these materials agrees to comply with all of the copyright terms. Other than having an electronic or printed copy for fair personal use, none of these works may be reposted, reprinted, or redistributed without the explicit permission of the relevant copyright holders.
To obtain a PDF reprint of this particular article, signal your agreement with these copyright terms by clicking on the statement below.