Skip to Content
MIT News magazine

A sample story from the children’s ToM experiment

Physical segment:
Out behind the big red barn at the edge of the walnut grove is the most magnificent pond in the neighborhood. It is wide and deep, and shaded by an old oak tree. There are all sorts of things in that pond: fish and old shoes and lost toys and tricycles, and many other surprises.

tree illustration

People segment:
Old Mr. McFeeglebee is a gray wrinkled old farmer, who wears gray wrinkled old overalls, and gray wrinkled old boots. He has lived on this land his whole life, longer even than most of the trees. Little Georgie is Mr. McFeeglebee’s nephew from town.

Mental segment:
Mr. McFeeglebee doesn’t want any little boys to fish in the pond. But little ­Georgie pretends not to notice. He likes fishing so much, and besides, he knows he can run faster than anybody in town. Georgie decides to run away really fast if Mr. McFeeglebee sees him fishing.

Question:
What do you think? Does little Georgie fish in the pond? [pause] Good job! Time for the next story!

This sample is part of a longer MIT News feature, The Story of a Study of the Mind.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.