Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence

Marjorie Rhodes, Henry Wellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A central tenet of constructivist models of conceptual development is that children's initial conceptual level constrains how they make sense of new evidence and thus whether exposure to evidence will prompt conceptual change. Yet little experimental evidence directly examines this claim for the case of sustained, fundamental conceptual achievements. The present study combined scaling and experimental microgenetic methods to examine the processes underlying conceptual change in the context of an important conceptual achievement of early childhood-the development of a representational theory of mind. Results from 47 children (M age = 3.7 years) indicate that only children who were conceptually close to understanding false belief at the beginning of the study, and who were experimentally exposed to evidence of people acting on false beliefs, reliably developed representational theories of minds. Combined scaling and microgenetic data revealed how prior conceptual level interacts with experience, thereby providing critical experimental evidence for how conceptual change results from the interplay between conceptions and evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-604
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Science
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Fingerprint

Theory of Mind
Child Development
Conceptual Change

Keywords

  • Conceptual development
  • Microgenetic methods
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence. / Rhodes, Marjorie; Wellman, Henry.

In: Cognitive Science, Vol. 37, No. 3, 04.2013, p. 592-604.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rhodes, Marjorie ; Wellman, Henry. / Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence. In: Cognitive Science. 2013 ; Vol. 37, No. 3. pp. 592-604.
@article{b766a52bb65541258363bdd40625b15f,
title = "Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence",
abstract = "A central tenet of constructivist models of conceptual development is that children's initial conceptual level constrains how they make sense of new evidence and thus whether exposure to evidence will prompt conceptual change. Yet little experimental evidence directly examines this claim for the case of sustained, fundamental conceptual achievements. The present study combined scaling and experimental microgenetic methods to examine the processes underlying conceptual change in the context of an important conceptual achievement of early childhood-the development of a representational theory of mind. Results from 47 children (M age = 3.7 years) indicate that only children who were conceptually close to understanding false belief at the beginning of the study, and who were experimentally exposed to evidence of people acting on false beliefs, reliably developed representational theories of minds. Combined scaling and microgenetic data revealed how prior conceptual level interacts with experience, thereby providing critical experimental evidence for how conceptual change results from the interplay between conceptions and evidence.",
keywords = "Conceptual development, Microgenetic methods, Social cognition, Theory of mind",
author = "Marjorie Rhodes and Henry Wellman",
year = "2013",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1111/cogs.12031",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "37",
pages = "592--604",
journal = "Cognitive Science",
issn = "0364-0213",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence

AU - Rhodes, Marjorie

AU - Wellman, Henry

PY - 2013/4

Y1 - 2013/4

N2 - A central tenet of constructivist models of conceptual development is that children's initial conceptual level constrains how they make sense of new evidence and thus whether exposure to evidence will prompt conceptual change. Yet little experimental evidence directly examines this claim for the case of sustained, fundamental conceptual achievements. The present study combined scaling and experimental microgenetic methods to examine the processes underlying conceptual change in the context of an important conceptual achievement of early childhood-the development of a representational theory of mind. Results from 47 children (M age = 3.7 years) indicate that only children who were conceptually close to understanding false belief at the beginning of the study, and who were experimentally exposed to evidence of people acting on false beliefs, reliably developed representational theories of minds. Combined scaling and microgenetic data revealed how prior conceptual level interacts with experience, thereby providing critical experimental evidence for how conceptual change results from the interplay between conceptions and evidence.

AB - A central tenet of constructivist models of conceptual development is that children's initial conceptual level constrains how they make sense of new evidence and thus whether exposure to evidence will prompt conceptual change. Yet little experimental evidence directly examines this claim for the case of sustained, fundamental conceptual achievements. The present study combined scaling and experimental microgenetic methods to examine the processes underlying conceptual change in the context of an important conceptual achievement of early childhood-the development of a representational theory of mind. Results from 47 children (M age = 3.7 years) indicate that only children who were conceptually close to understanding false belief at the beginning of the study, and who were experimentally exposed to evidence of people acting on false beliefs, reliably developed representational theories of minds. Combined scaling and microgenetic data revealed how prior conceptual level interacts with experience, thereby providing critical experimental evidence for how conceptual change results from the interplay between conceptions and evidence.

KW - Conceptual development

KW - Microgenetic methods

KW - Social cognition

KW - Theory of mind

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84875618279&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84875618279&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/cogs.12031

DO - 10.1111/cogs.12031

M3 - Article

C2 - 23489194

AN - SCOPUS:84875618279

VL - 37

SP - 592

EP - 604

JO - Cognitive Science

JF - Cognitive Science

SN - 0364-0213

IS - 3

ER -