|AUTHORS:||Richert, R.A., & Lillard, A.S.|
Headline: Children’s ability to interpret actions and drawings in terms of the actor or artist’s knowledge state and intentions improves with age, although appearance remains the dominant influence until at least 8-years of age.
Experiment 1: In the pretense condition, children’s ability to account for Moe’s lack of knowledge in reasoning about his actions improved with age. In the drawing condition, the majority of children incorrectly stated that Luna was drawing an animal, yet improved with age in asserting that Luna would not think she was drawing an animal.
Experiment 2: Appearance-based reasoning (Moe is pretending to be a rabbit because he looks like he is) prevailed, although children performed slightly better in the drawing condition, and when intentional explanations were given.
Experiment 3: 4-and 5-year olds performed similarly in both conditions, again largely naming drawings and actions according to what they looked like, and not taking into account the actor’s intentions or knowledge state.
Experiment 1: 4-8 year old children were introduced to a troll (Moe) who knows nothing about animals because he is from a faraway land. The experimenter then made the troll bounce up and down and told the child he was moving like a rabbit. Children were asked three questions regarding Moe’s actions. In a second condition, children were introduced to Luna (similar backstory as Moe) who drew pictures rather than performing actions.
Experiment 2: The influence of giving children an alternative, intentional, explanation for the troll’s pretending and drawing was explored. For instance, Moe is climbing a tree like a monkey because he wants to pick an apple.
Experiment 3: The procedure was simplified, and an older age group (5-year olds) of children was added.