Executive Functioning and Preschoolers' Understanding of False Beliefs, False Photographs, and False Signs
Two studies were conducted to investigate the specificity of the relationship between preschoolers' emerging executive functioning skills and false belief understanding. Study 1 (N=44) showed that 3- to 5-year-olds' performance on an executive functioning task that required selective suppression of actions predicted performance on false belief tasks, but not on false photograph tasks. Study 2 (N=54) replicated the finding from Study 1 and showed that performance on the executive functioning task also predicted 3- to 5-year-olds' performance on false sign tasks. These findings show that executive functioning is required to reason only about representations that are intended to reflect a true state of affairs. Results are discussed with respect to theories of preschoolers' theory-of-mind development.