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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Professor Charles Fernyhough

Meins, E. & Fernyhough, C. (2007). Preschoolers’ understanding of multiple orientations to reality: The Adjectives task. Cognitive Development 22(2): 289-297.

Author(s) from Durham


Preschoolers’ understanding that an object can be accurately described using two different non-synonymous words was investigated using a task in which children (N = 36) had to judge which of two animals had provided correct adjectival labels for a series of pictures. For some pictures, only one animal provided a correct adjective, for some both animals were correct, and for some neither was correct. For all types of judgement, 4-year-olds outperformed 3-year-olds. Children in both age groups performed worst on trials where both animals were correct. Children's performance on the adjectives task related to concurrent understanding of the appearance–reality distinction, but not to false-belief task performance. Implications for children's mentalizing development are discussed.