Research

Children's understanding of intentional vs. non-intentional action


Reference:

Colle, L., Mate, D., Del Giudice, M., Ashwin, C. and Baron-Cohen, S., 2007. Children's understanding of intentional vs. non-intentional action. Journal of Cognitive Science, 8 (1), pp. 39-68.

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http://j-cs.org/gnuboard/bbs/board.php?bo_table=__vol008i1

Abstract

This study investigates the development of children's understanding of others' intentions. We report 3 experiments in which three- and five-year-olds (total sample: N = 120) were tested using 15 videotaped pairs of action sequences excluding social information from the face. In each pair of videos the same action was performed with and without an intention (e.g. John pours water, vs. John spills water). Results showed that five-year-olds were more accurate in distinguishing intentional from non-intentional actions, while threeyear- olds were significantly worse at understanding non-intentional actions. Three year olds tended to judge non-intentional actions as being intentional, suggesting, as Piaget proposed, they over-ascribe intentionality. This effect was found both in a verbal and non-verbal version of the task. Therefore the development of mental state explanations of actions may involve a gradual increase across preschool ages.

Details

Item Type Articles
CreatorsColle, L., Mate, D., Del Giudice, M., Ashwin, C. and Baron-Cohen, S.
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Psychology
RefereedYes
StatusPublished
ID Code19208

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