Give an example of a false belief task that could be given to a three-year-old. Describe an interpretation of children's poor performance on false belief tasks. Provide at least two factors that can enhance the performance of students on false belief tasks. How can preschool teachers utilize their knowledge of student performance on these tasks as well as their knowledge of performance enhancers when planning for instruction?
A false belief task is related to theory of the mind which is a mental state and the ability to understand that others may have thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are different from the ones we may have. Typically around age four children are able to understand the concept of false belief, meaning that they understand that their mental representations can differ from reality. Other than age mental and cognitive factors such as Downs Syndrome or autism can affect false beliefs.
An example of this a situation typically used in research in which two fictional characters will be present with the researcher and the child (e.g. two dolls). During this interaction the researcher will give a desired object to one of the fictional characters and the first character will hide to object. The first character will leave the room and a researcher will “allow the second character” to place the desired object in another location. During this interaction the child and the researcher knows where the object has been moved to but the first character does not. The researcher will ask the child to predict where the first character will look for the object. In the event that the child predicts that the character will look in the new location they show a false belief as they believe the first character knows what they know and believes their reality.