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Eighteen-month-olds' memory interference and distraction in a modified A-not-B task is not associated with their anticipatory looking in a false-belief task


Zmyj, Norbert; Prinz, Wolfgang; Daum, Moritz M (2015). Eighteen-month-olds' memory interference and distraction in a modified A-not-B task is not associated with their anticipatory looking in a false-belief task. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(857):online.

Abstract

Infants' performance in non-verbal false-belief tasks is often interpreted as if they have understood false beliefs. This view has been questioned by a recent account that explains infants' performance in non-verbal false-belief tasks as the result of susceptibility to memory interference and distraction. We tested this alternative account by investigating the relationship between infants' false-belief understanding, susceptibility to memory interference and distraction, and general cognitive development in 18-month-old infants (N = 22). False-belief understanding was tested in an anticipatory looking paradigm of a standard false-belief task. Susceptibility to memory interference and distraction was tested in a modified A-not-B task. Cognitive development was measured via the Mental Scale of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. We did not find any relationship between infants' performance in the false-belief task and the A-not-B task, even after controlling for cognitive development. This study shows that there is no ubiquitous relation between susceptibility to memory interference and distraction and performance in a false-belief task in infancy.

Infants' performance in non-verbal false-belief tasks is often interpreted as if they have understood false beliefs. This view has been questioned by a recent account that explains infants' performance in non-verbal false-belief tasks as the result of susceptibility to memory interference and distraction. We tested this alternative account by investigating the relationship between infants' false-belief understanding, susceptibility to memory interference and distraction, and general cognitive development in 18-month-old infants (N = 22). False-belief understanding was tested in an anticipatory looking paradigm of a standard false-belief task. Susceptibility to memory interference and distraction was tested in a modified A-not-B task. Cognitive development was measured via the Mental Scale of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. We did not find any relationship between infants' performance in the false-belief task and the A-not-B task, even after controlling for cognitive development. This study shows that there is no ubiquitous relation between susceptibility to memory interference and distraction and performance in a false-belief task in infancy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:false belief task, memory interference, infancy, distraction, inhibitory control
Language:English
Date:22 June 2015
Deposited On:15 Dec 2015 10:35
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:39
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00857
PubMed ID:26157409
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-116161

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