The problem with 3-year-olds



Publication Details

Gallagher, S. (2015). The problem with 3-year-olds. Journal of Consciousness Studies: controversies in science and the humanities, 22 (1-2), 160-182.


I review a variety of theories that attempt to explain how young infants are able to pass spontaneous false belief tests, and then ask whether any of these approaches can explain the 3-year-olds' failure on standard, elicited FB tests. I argue that some of these approaches fail to provide adequate explanations, and I defend an embodied enactive approach that I think does a better job. The primary reason 3-year-olds fail at the elicited FB tests is not due to language problems, the complexity of the situation, or the number of perspectives involved, but because the saliency of the second-person interaction with the experimenter takes precedence over the third-person task.

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