Reading Your Mind. How our brains help us understand other people. Interesante artículo sobre el origen de nuestra capacidad sobre otras mentes, en particular, sobre las creencias que los demás tienen sobre el mundo:
Children in the first stage are missing something very specific: the notion of belief. Until sometime between their third and fourth birthdays, young children seem not to understand that the relationship between a person’s goals and her actions depends on the person’s beliefs about the current state of the world. Two-year-olds really do not understand why, if Sally wants the ball, she goes to the basket, even though the ball is in the box. They do not talk spontaneously about thoughts or beliefs, and have trouble understanding that two people could ever have different beliefs. Similarly, while a five-year-old knows that she has to see a ball to be able to tell whether its red, a three-year-old believes he could tell if the ball is red just by feeling it. In the first stage, children think that the mind has direct access to the way the world is; they have no room in their conception for the way a person just believes it to be.
The limitations of a stage-one understanding of the mind apply even to the child’s own past or future beliefs. If you show a child a crayon box and ask her what she thinks is inside, all children will say that the box contains crayons. But if you open the box to show that it actually contains ribbons, re-close the box, and then ask the child what she thought was in the box before it was opened, the three-year-old children claim they thought all along that the box contained ribbons.
An impressive conceptual change occurs in the three- or four-year-old child. From American and Japanese urban centers to an African hunter-gatherer society, children make a similar transition from the first stage of reasoning about human behavior, based mainly on goals or desires, to the richer second stage, based on both desires and beliefs. What explains the change? How do children acquire the idea that people have beliefs about the world, that some of the beliefs are false, and that different people have different beliefs about the same world? Between three and five, children mature in so many ways: their vocabulary increases by orders of magnitude, their memory improves, they just know more facts about the world. Each of these changes might account for the advantages of a five-year-old over a three-year-old in solving the false-belief task.
(vía Follow me here…)