The use of new paradigms of false belief tasks (FBT) allowed to reduce the age of children who pass the test from the previous 4 years in the standard version to only 15 months or even a striking 6 months in the nonverbal modification. These results are often taken as evidence that infants already possess an—at least implicit—theory of mind (ToM). We criticize this inferential leap on the grounds that inferring a ToM from the predictive success on a false belief task requires to assume as premise that a belief reasoning is a necessary condition for correct action prediction. It is argued that the FBT does not satisfactorily constrain the predictive means, leaving room for the use of belief-independent inferences (that can rely on the attribution of non-representational mental states or the consideration of behavioral patterns that dispense any reference to other minds). These heuristics, when applied to the FBT, can achieve the same predictive success of a belief-based inference because information provided by the test stimulus allows the recognition of particular situations that can be subsumed by their ‘laws’. Instead of solving this issue by designing a single experimentum crucis that would render unfeasible the use of non-representational inferences, we suggest the application of a set of tests in which, although individually they can support inferences dissociated from a ToM, only an inference that makes use of false beliefs is able to correctly predict all the outcomes.
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