Infants' Reasoning About Others' False Perceptions

Hyun joo Song, Renée Baillargeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research suggests that children younger than age 3 or 4 do not understand that an agent may be deceived by an object's misleading appearance. The authors asked whether 14.5-month-olds would give evidence in a violation-of-expectation task that they understand that agents may form false perceptions. Infants first watched events in which an agent faced a stuffed skunk and a doll with blue pigtails; the agent consistently reached for the doll, suggesting that she preferred it over the skunk. Next, while the agent was absent, the doll was hidden in a plain box, and the skunk was hidden in a box with a tuft of blue hair protruding from under its lid. Infants expected the agent to be misled by the tuft's resemblance to the doll's hair and to falsely perceive it as belonging to the doll. These and other results indicate that 14.5-month-old infants can already reason about agents' false perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1789-1795
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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