Research Items (17)
The focus of studies on second-order false belief reasoning generally was on investigating the roles of executive functions and language with correlational studies. Different from those studies, we focus on the question how 5-year-olds select and revise reasoning strategies in second-order false belief tasks by constructing two computational cognitive models of this process: an instance-based learning model and a reinforcement learning model. Unlike the reinforcement learning model, the instance-based learning model predicted that children who fail second-order false belief tasks would give answers based on first-order theory of mind reasoning as opposed to zero-order reasoning. This prediction was confirmed with an empirical study that we conducted with 72 five- to six-year-old children. The results showed that 17% of the answers were correct and 83% of the answers were wrong. In line with our prediction, 65% of the wrong answers were based on a first-order theory of mind strategy, while only 29% of them were based on a zero-order strategy (the remaining 6% of subjects did not provide any answer). Based on our instance-based learning model, we propose that when children get feedback “Wrong”, they explicitly revise their strategy to a higher level instead of implicitly selecting one of the available theory of mind strategies. Moreover, we predict that children’s failures are due to lack of experience and that with exposure to second-order false belief reasoning, children can revise their wrong first-order reasoning strategy to a correct second-order reasoning strategy.
While most 3-year-olds fail both in the false belief task of theory of mind and Dimensional Change Card Sorting task of cognitive control, most 4-year-olds are able to pass these tasks. Different theories have been constructed to explain this co-development. To investigate the direction of the developmental relationship between false belief reasoning and cognitive control, Kloo and Perner (2003) trained 3-year-olds on the false belief task in one condition and on the Dimensional Change Card Sorting task in another condition. They found that there is a mutual transfer between the two tasks, meaning that training children with the Dimensional Change Card Sorting task with feedback significantly improved children’s performance on the false belief task and vice versa. In this study, we aim to provide an explanation for the underlying mechanisms of this mutual transfer by constructing computational cognitive models. In contrast to the previous theories, our models show that the common element in the two tasks is two competing strategies, only one of which leads to a correct answer. Providing children with explicit feedback trains them to use a strategy of control instead of using a simpler reactive strategy. Therefore, we propose that children start to pass the false belief and cognitive control tasks once they learn to be flexible in their behavior depending on the current goal.
In this study, we focus on the possible roles of second-order syntactic recursion and working memory in terms of simple and complex span tasks in the development of second-order false belief reasoning. We tested 89 Turkish children in two age groups, one younger (4;6–6;5 years) and one older (6;7–8;10 years). Although second-order syntactic recursion is significantly correlated with the second-order false belief task, results of ordinal logistic regressions revealed that the main predictor of second-order false belief reasoning is complex working memory span. Unlike simple working memory and second-order syntactic recursion tasks, the complex working memory task required processing information serially with additional reasoning demands that require complex working memory strategies. Based on our results, we propose that children’s second-order theory of mind develops when they have efficient reasoning rules to process embedded beliefs serially, thus overcoming a possible serial processing bottleneck.
In their fourth year, most children start to understand that someone else might have a false belief, which is different from the reality that the children know. The most studied experimental task to test this development is called the first-order false belief task. What kind of prior cognitive skills help children to pass the false belief task? There are hundreds of correlational studies that have shown that language and executive functions (such as inhibition and working memory) play a role. Moreover, several training studies have shown the importance of language and inhibition in the development of false belief reasoning. However, to the best of our knowledge there has been no training study (with normally developing children) to investigate the role of working memory strategies in the development of false belief reasoning. We present here a computational cognitive model to investigate transfer from working memory strategies to false belief reasoning. For this reason, in addition to the false belief task, we constructed two tasks that children encounter in their daily life: a pencil task (simple working memory) and a marble task (complex working memory). Our simulation results confirm our hypothesis that there is more transfer from the marble task to the first-order false belief task than from the pencil task to the first-order false belief task, because of the more complex working memory strategies that appear to be necessary in the false belief task. The results of our simulations suggest conceptual predictions to be tested experimentally.
Reasoning about false beliefs of others develops with age. We present here an ACT-R model in order to show the developmental transitions. These start from a child’s reasoning from his/her own point of view (zero-order) to taking into consideration another agent’s beliefs (first-order), and later to taking into consideration another agent’s beliefs about again other agents’ beliefs (second-order). The model is based on a combination of rule-based and simulation approaches. We modeled the gradual development of reasoning about false beliefs of others by using activation of declarative knowledge instead of utility learning. Initially, in addition to the story facts, there is only one strategy chunk, namely a zero-order reasoning chunk, in declarative memory. The model retrieves this chunk each time it has to solve a problem. Based on the feedback, the model will strengthen a successful strategy chunk, or it will add or strengthen an alternative strategy if the current one failed.
One‐hundred‐six 5‐year‐olds’ (Mage = 5;6; SD = 0.40) were trained with second‐order false belief tasks in one of the following conditions: (a) feedback with explanation; (b) feedback without explanation; (c) no feedback; (d) active control. The results showed that there were significant improvements in children's scores from pretest to posttest in the three experimental conditions even when children's age, verbal abilities, or working memory scores were controlled for. The training effect was stable at a follow‐up session 4 months after the pretest. Overall, our results suggest that 5‐year‐olds’ failures in second‐order false belief tasks are due to lack of experience and that they can be helped over the threshold by exposure to many stories involving second‐order false belief reasoning, including why questions.
This report investigates whether the time between scoring sessions has an influence on operational and nonoperational scoring accuracy. The study evaluates raters' scoring accuracy on constructed‐response essay responses for the GRE® General Test. Binomial linear mixed‐effect models are presented that evaluate how the effect of various predictors, such as time spent scoring each response, days in a scoring gap, and number of consecutive days of scoring, relate to scoring accuracy. Results suggest that for operational scoring, the number of days in a scoring gap has a negative influence on performance. The findings, as well as other results from the models, are discussed in the context of cognitive influences on knowledge and skill retention.
There are several training studies that showed that it is possible to teach preschool children to pass first-order false belief tasks. However, the literature is missing analogous training effects for school-age children with respect to second-order false belief tasks. We focused on the role of feedback in the development of second-order false belief reasoning in two different conditions in 5- to 6-year-old children: (i) feedback with explanation, (ii) feedback without explanation. Children’s performance improved in both conditions. We argue that children who cannot yet pass the second-order false belief task reason about the false belief questions based on the reasoning strategy that they most frequently use in daily life (i.e. first-order or zero-order theory of mind). Moreover, we argue that children can revise their wrong reasoning strategy and change to the correct second-order reasoning strategy based on repeated exposure to the feedback “Correct/Wrong” together with the correct answer.
In this study, the development of second-order social cognition and its possible relationship with language and memory were investigated. For this reason two second-order false belief tasks (FBT_2), a short term memory task (WST), a complex working memory task (LST), a linguistic perspective-taking test (PTT) and a double-embedded relative clause task (REL_2) were used with 21 Turkish kindergarten children (aged 4-5 years), 47 primary school children (aged 6- 12 years) and 10 adults. A general developmental trend was found for all tasks. However, a multiple linear regression showed that once age was partialed out, none of the other tasks could predict FBT_2 scores. Our findings are consistent with the modularity view that Theory of Mind (ToM) is a faculty of the human mind that does not share intrinsic content with other faculties such as language and memory (Leslie et al., 2004) and also with Apperly's (2011) 'two systems' account of Theory of Mind. However, it develops together with those other faculties which may constrain the expression of children’s false belief reasoning as a manifestation of their social cognitive abilities.
The economic crisis of 2008 that unfolded in the United States and soon impacted Europe and then the global economy did affect the Turkish economy and consequently our local governments; the extent of impact had however become a matter of serious debate. Our paper thus aims to clarify, on the basis of fiscal data, whether the crisis had or not, in daily language, slightly touched Turkish local governments. In this context, we will assess the impact of the crisis on the fiscal structure of local governments rather than on the Turkish macroeconomic indicators. The economic crisis of 2007-2008 that started in the United States and first reached the developed economies and then the developing economies which had intensive trade and capital relations with the former indeed first appeared in the financial markets, then impacted the real economy (Ay et al, 2011:380). In an environment where the banking sector violated the rules and increased the volume of the financial sector several times the volume of real sector, when the low-income American families who received mortgages began to experience problems in repayment, the American mortgage market collapsed at first, and consequently, New York-based "The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc", a global investment bank which included in its portfolio too many loan customers mostly receiving mortgages, went bankrupt in March 2008. The bankruptcy of "Lehman Brothers Inc." on 15 September 2008, which was characterized as the largest bankruptcy in the USA history, and bankruptcies of other banks and insurance companies followed. The crisis soon spread to Europe and impacted Iceland first. Three largest banks of Iceland went bankrupt and Icelandic Krona lost 40% value against Euro. The real estate market in The United Kingdom went into a sharp decline as in the USA, and economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain were also deeply affected by the crisis. Consequently, while it was generally thought that everything was going well in the world economy, the storm which started in the mortgage market of the USA in 2008 unsettled all world markets (Akın, 2011; Genç and Karabacak, 2011:371; Bolat and Toprak, 2010: 260-261).