Three-year-olds understand appearance and reality--just not about the same object at the same time.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Young children struggle in the classic tests of appearance versus reality. In the current Study 1, 3-year-olds had to determine which of 2 objects (a deceptive or a nondeceptive one) an adult requested when asking for the "real X" versus "the one that looks like X." In Study 2, children of the same age had to indicate what a single deceptive object (e.g., a chocolate-eraser) looked like and what it really was by selecting one of two items that represented this object's appearance (a chocolate bar) or identity (a regular eraser). Children were mainly successful in Study 1 but not in Study 2. The findings are discussed with a focus on young children's difficulty with "confronting" perspectives, which may be involved in their struggles with a number of classic theory of mind tasks.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moll, H; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • July 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 48 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1124 - 1132

PubMed ID

  • 22040314

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-0599

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-1649

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0025915


  • eng