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2 tasks that examine the child's understanding of false belief, representational change, and the appearance-reality distinction were conducted among 34 4- to 8-year-old Junín Quechua children in Peru. A majority of children demonstrated an understanding of the appearance-reality distinction, though there was a clear improvement with age. Both younger and older children, however, performed poorly on questions that tested their understanding of representational change and false belief. These results raise questions as to whether or not thinking about thought and its relation to action develops in a similar manner in all cultures. If the Junín Quechua children's understanding of the appearance-reality distinction is grounded in the same representational ability that is necessary to understand one's own and another's misrepresentation of reality, then we must look for other factors that prevent them from performing correctly on tasks that test their understanding of false belief and representational change.
Child Development © 1996 Society for Research in Child Development