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Two routes to perspective: simulation and rule-use as approaches to mentalizing

By P. Mitchell, G. Currie and Fenja Ziegler


We review evidence relating to children's ability to acknowledge false beliefs within a simulation account according to which our focus is set by default to the world as we know it: hence, our current beliefs assume salience over beliefs that do not fall into this category. The model proposes that the ease with which we imaginatively shift from this default depends on the salience of our current belief, relative to the salience of the belief that is being simulated. However, children do use a rule-based approach for mentalizing in some contexts, which has the advantage of protecting them from the salience of their own belief. Rule-based mentalizing judgements might be faster, cognitively easier and less prone to error, relative to simulation-based judgements that are much influenced by salience. We propose that although simulation is primary, rule-based approaches develop as a shortcut; we thus grow from individuals capable of using only simulation into individuals capable of both techniques

Topics: C800 Psychology, C820 Developmental Psychology
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1348/026151008X334737
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