chapter  2
26 Pages

Sometimes Necessary, Never Sufficient: False-Belief Understanding and Social Competence

WithJanet Wilde Astington

In this chapter I address the question of whether a theory of mind, in particular false-belief understanding, is needed for socially competent interaction. First, I discuss theory of mind and social functioning, and consider the paradoxical relation between children’s everyday behavior and their laboratory task performance. Second, I review research literature addressing the issue of relations between false-belief understanding and social competence. Third, I present findings pertinent to this issue from research conducted by my collaborators and myself. Fourth and finally, I attempt to resolve the paradox in light of the research findings.