In three experiments the understanding was studied that a statement's surface meaning may differ from its actual meaning, which is determined by a speaker's intentional states. Children (ages 3-5) were informed of a speaker's deceptive intent, but not the truth. Even 3-year-olds rejected the lie-teller's statement as reflecting his true beliefs and the truth, indicating a basic expression-representation differentiation. Most 4- and 5-year-olds and some 3-year-olds demonstrated more advanced understanding of the expression-representation distinction. They knew that a lie may contain information about a lie~teller's true knowledge state as well as the truth. The expression-representation distinction emerges in the preschool years and lays the foundation for further enhancement in later years.
Lee, Kang and Cameron, Catherine Ann
"Extracting Truthful Information From Lies:
Emergence of the Expression-Representation Distinction,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 46
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol46/iss1/2