Action anticipation through attribution of false belief by 2-year-olds

Psychol Sci. 2007 Jul;18(7):587-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01944.x.


Two-year-olds engage in many behaviors that ostensibly require the attribution of mental states to other individuals. Yet the overwhelming consensus has been that children of this age are unable to attribute false beliefs. In the current study, we used an eyetracker to record infants' looking behavior while they watched actions on a computer monitor. Our data demonstrate that 25-month-old infants correctly anticipate an actor's actions when these actions can be predicted only by attributing a false belief to the actor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Concept Formation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychology, Child / methods
  • Pursuit, Smooth / physiology
  • Reality Testing*
  • Social Perception*
  • Visual Perception / physiology