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Extracting Truthful Information From Lies: Emergence of the Expression-Representation Distinction

Kang Lee and Catherine Ann Cameron
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 46, No. 1 (January 2000), pp. 1-20
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093340
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Extracting Truthful Information From Lies: Emergence of the Expression-Representation Distinction
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Abstract

In three experiments the understanding was studied that a statement's surface meaning may differ from its actual meaning, which is determined by a speaker's intentional states. Children (ages 3–5) were informed of a speaker's deceptive intent, but not the truth. Even 3-year-olds rejected the lie-teller's statement as reflecting his true beliefs and the truth, indicating a basic expression-representation differentiation. Most 4- and 5-year-olds and some 3-year-olds demonstrated more advanced understanding of the expression-representation distinction. They knew that a lie may contain information about a lie-teller's true knowledge state as well as the truth. The expression-representation distinction emerges in the preschool years and lays the foundation for further enhancement in later years.

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