Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

2013 Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

False-Belief Task

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1698-3_91


False-belief task is based on false-belief understanding which is the understanding that an individual’s belief or representation about the world may contrast with reality. False-belief task is a frequently used methodology to examine theory of mind (i.e., child’s ability to construct people in terms of internal mental states such as their beliefs, Wellman, 1993). It is considered as litmus test of theory of mind, in that in such cases, it becomes possible to distinguish unambiguously between the child’s (true) belief and the child’s awareness of someone else’s different (false) belief (Dennett, 1978). First-order false-belief tasks involve attribution about other’s false belief with regard to real events; whereas, second-order false-belief tasks are related with what people think about other people’s thoughts. In second-order false-belief tasks, the child is required to attribute the false belief of one person based on the thoughts of another (Perner & Wimmer, 1985). An...

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References and Readings

  1. Dennett, D. (1978). Brainstorms: Philosophical essay on mind and psychology. Montgomery, AL: Harvester Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gopnik, A., & Astington, J. W. (1988). Children’s understanding of changes in their mental states. Child Development, 62, 98–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Perner, J., & Wimmer, H. (1985). John thinks that Mary thinks that: Attribution of second-order beliefs by 5-to 10-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 60, 689–700.Google Scholar
  4. Wellman, H. M. (1993). Early understanding of mind: The normal case. In S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Understanding of other minds: Perspectives from autism (pp. 10–39). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationBar-Illan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael