Events

ABSTRACT:

I present a nativist proposal about theory of mind development that takes into account both children’s social experiences and the maturation of their executive capacities. Specifically, I argue that we can understand the shift in children’s performance on standard false belief tasks around four years of age partly as the result of learning about the pragmatics of belief discourse, and partly due to the maturation of their response-conflict inhibition capacity. In contrast to current nativist accounts, which explain this shift solely in terms of maturing executive resources, my “pragmatic development account” can accommodate evidence normally cited in support of empiricism about theory of mind development, including a wide range of evidence showing that social and linguistic experiences affect when individuals eventually succeed on the false belief task.