What Eye Tracking Reveals in Implicit-Discrete Versus Explicit-Continuous Theory-of-Mind Measures
Adults can understand others’ mental states (Theory of Mind, ToM), but their private knowledge tends to hinder this ability (ToM errors). Eye-tracking recorded where participants looked in two ToM tasks. In one task, adult participants watched videos where characters held either false or true (inaccurate or accurate) beliefs about an animal’s location. This task was implicit because it did not solicit a response from participants. As predicted, participants looked longer and first looked where characters, with true beliefs, would search for an object; however, participants looked shorter and did not first look where characters, with false beliefs, would search for an object. In another task, adults listened to stories where characters held either false or true belief about an object’s location. This task was explicit because it solicited a response from participants. Contrary to predictions, participants made more ToM errors when indicating where characters, with true beliefs, would search for an object. In comparison, participants made fewer ToM errors when indicating (1) where characters, with false beliefs, would search for an object, and (2) where characters, with false and true beliefs, initially put an object. Methodological issues may account for this discrepancy. Overall, the study found ToM errors in adults.
Copyright (c) 2019 Angela Lauren Giesbrecht
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