Publication details for Dr Emma FlynnFlynn, E., O'Malley, C. & Wood, D. (2004). A longitudinal, microgenetic study of the emergence of false belief understanding and inhibition skills. Developmental Science 7(1): 103-115.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1363-755X, 1467-7687
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00326.x
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Two theories that attempt to explain the relationship between false belief understanding and inhibition skills were investigated: (1) theory of mind development improves self-control, and (2) executive control is necessary for developing a theory of mind. A microgenetic approach was adopted, with a group of 21 children completing a battery of inhibition and false belief understanding tasks every four weeks for six phases of testing. The results showed that the majority of children were able to perform well on a test of executive inhibition before having a good understanding of false beliefs, thus supporting theory (2). The results also illustrated that while the children's inhibition skills developed relatively gradually, their understanding of false beliefs progressed from a consistent lack of understanding through a period of unstable performance, during which some children failed tests that they had previously passed.