from day 12/12/2019

If teleology is the answer, what was the question?

Josef Perner is one of the leading developmental psychologists of mindreading (or mental state attribution). His contribution to the subject, including his influential (1991) book, has been huge. It started back in 1983, when he and Heinz Wimmer reported the very first study of false-belief attribution in human childhood: Maxi and Maxi’s mother (a pair of puppets) store some desirable object (e.g. a chocolate bar) in a blue cupboard for later use and Maxi leaves the scene. While Maxi is away, Maxi’s mother removes the chocolate bar, uses some of it to bake a cake, places it into a green cupboard and leaves. Maxi comes back and wants some chocolate. Participants are asked the prediction question: “Where will Maxi look for his chocolate?”

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