Pretend Play as Twin Earth: A Social-Cognitive Analysis


Pretend play appears to be important to a theory of mind, but exactly how or why has been controversial. One widely entertained hypothesis about why pretense is important to understanding minds is termed the Metarepresentational Model. According to this model, children knowingly consider and manipulate mental representations during pretense. Children appreciate these mental representations as such and later come to apply their understanding of mental representation outside of pretense domains. This article reviews evidence relevant to the metarepresentational model, and it is concluded that the evidence does not support it. Alternative models of the relationship between pretense and theory of mind are reviewed, culminating in a proposed developmental model of the relation. The Twin Earth model proposes specific relations between pretend play and understanding minds, from the ontogenesis of pretense to the later emergence of role play and mental representational understandings of pretense. Central to the proposal is the supposition that pretend play functions for children in much the way that Twin Earth functions for philosophers—by allowing for participation in and reasoning about nonactual situations.  2001 Academic Press

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@inproceedings{Lillard2012PretendPA, title={Pretend Play as Twin Earth: A Social-Cognitive Analysis}, author={Angeline S Lillard and Patricia Ganea and Robert D Kavanaugh and Bekah Richert and Lori E. Skibbe and David M. Sobel and Dan Wegner and Henry Wellman and David C. Witherington and Jacqui Woolley}, year={2012} }