Métacognition et théories de l'esprit

Anne‐Marie Melot
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 28 Issue 5

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In the present overview of research on certain aspects of psychological functioning (such as language, perception, explanation of actions, appearance/reality, etc.), the development of children's representations of the mental functioning of human beings is described. Children at a very early age appear to have already acquired knowledge about the human mind and constructed representations of it. These allow them to differentiate between mental and physical entities, attribute various mental states to human beings, and explain human actions in terms of mental states such as desires and beliefs, etc. However, at approximately 5 years old, important qualitative changes take place in the representation children have of mental life. Their prior conception of the human mind as a reservoir of mental states (resulting from direct contact with reality) is replaced by a conception of the mind as a mediator and, thus, a generator of mental states.

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