Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Open Peer Commentary
Dienes & Perner: Implicit and explicit knowledge

Consciousness and control: The argument from developmental psychology


Philip David Zelazo a1 and Douglas Frye a2
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3G3 zelazo@psych.utoronto.ca http://psych.utoronto.ca/~zelazo/
a2 Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104 doug@psych.nyu.edu

Abstract

Limitations of Dienes & Perner's (D&P's) theory are traced to the assumption that the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness is true. D&P claim that 18-month-old children are capable of explicitly representing factuality, from which it follows (on D&P's theory) that they are capable of explicitly representing content, attitude, and self. D&P then attempt to explain 3-year-olds' failures on tests of voluntary control such as the dimensional change card sort by suggesting that at this age children cannot represent content and attitude explicitly. We provide a better levels-of-consciousness account for age-related abulic dissociations between knowledge and action.