Do children start out thinking they don't know their own minds?

Peter Mitchell, Ulrich Teucher, Mark Bennett, Fenja Ziegler, Rebecca Wyton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Various researchers have suggested that below 7 years of age children do not recognize that they are the authority on knowledge about themselves, a suggestion that seems counter-intuitive because it raises the possibility that children do not appreciate their privileged first-person access to their own minds. Unlike previous research, children in the current investigation quantified knowledge and even 5-year-olds tended to assign relatively more to themselves than to an adult (Studies 1 and 2). Indeed, children's estimations were different from ratings made by their mothers: Their mothers sometimes rated themselves as knowing more about their child than they rated their child as knowing (Study 2). While previous research seemed to suggest that children shift from viewing their mother to viewing themselves as the authority on knowledge about them (the children), these new findings surprisingly suggest the opposite.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)328-346
    Number of pages19
    JournalMind and Language
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


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