Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Belief and Counterfactuality: A teleological theory of belief attribution
Author(s): Rafetseder, Eva
Perner, Josef
Contact Email:
Keywords: Counterfactual Reasoning
Basic Conditional Reasoning
False Belief
Issue Date: Apr-2018
Citation: Rafetseder E & Perner J (2018) Belief and Counterfactuality: A teleological theory of belief attribution, Zeitschrift fur Psychologie, 226 (2), pp. 110-121.
Abstract: The development and relation of counterfactual reasoning and false belief understanding were examined in 3- to 7-year-old children ( N=75) and adult controls (N=14). The key question was whether false belief understanding engages counterfactual reasoning to infer what somebody else falsely believes. Findings revealed a strong correlation between false belief and counterfactual questions even in conditions in which children could commit errors other than the reality bias (rp=.51). The data suggest that mastery of belief attribution and counterfactual reasoning is not limited to one point in development but rather develops over a longer period. Moreover, the rare occurrence of reality errors calls into question whether young children's errors in the classic false belief task are indeed the result of a failure to inhibit what they know to be actually the case. The data speak in favour of a teleological theory of belief attribution and challenges established theories of belief attribution.
DOI Link:
Rights: Published under Hogrefe OpenMind License ( Based on and Compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License,

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
2151-2604_a000327.pdf1.77 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.