Children's Understanding of Perceptual Appearances

Matthew Nudds

in Perception, Causation, and Objectivity

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199692040
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729713 | DOI:

Series: Consciousness & Self-Consciousness Series

Children's Understanding of Perceptual Appearances

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The development of children's understanding of perception has been tested with a number of experimental paradigms which involve asking children about the way things look. The results of these experiments have been interpreted as evidence for children's acquisition, at around the age of four, of a representational theory of perception. According to this standard interpretation, children's understanding of the distinction between appearance and reality and their ability to understand other's perceptual perspectives on the world, can be explained in terms of their coming to understand that perceptual experience represents objects and situations as being a certain way. In this chapter I argue that this interpretation is not supported by the evidence provided by the experiment, and that children's understanding is better explained by their developing understanding of objects and the way they look (and how to make claims about their looks).

Keywords: perception; appearance-reality distinction; perspective taking; representational theory of perception

Chapter.  12279 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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