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Conclusion

conclusion

In conclusion, I have been asking two questions ...

Q1

Why do different responses reveal different developmental patterns?
 

Because some responses are dominated by fast processes, others by slow processes.

Q2

How could fast processes
influence looking duration and pupil dilation?
(And why do they not influence verbal responses or manual search?)

By causing metacognitive feelings.

My first question was about the development of abilities to track objects and beliefs. It is well established that there is an initially puzzling interaction between response type and age. Why is this?
I suggested that a candidate answer to this question can be provided by one or another dual-process theory of development. The answer is this: the interaction between response type and age is due to the fact that (a) different types of response are dominated by two (or more) distinct processes, and (b) the distinct processes have different developmental trajectories.
If we accept, even provisionally, this candidate answer we are immediately confronted by a further, no less challenging question...
Namely, Why do early-developing, relatively automatic object- and belief-tracking processes influence looking duration but not verbal responses or manual search?
One way of answering this question---and the only available way of answering it I know of---is by appeal to metacognitive feelings.
Metacognitive feelings (and perhaps behaviour or other intentional isolators) connect early-developing, relatively automatic processes for tracking objects and beliefs to less automatic processes whose development involves significant conceptual change. This is why the relatively automatic processes can influence looking times in violation-of-expectation and habituation tasks: metacognitive feelings can add interest to an event, causing you to stop and think. And it is also why the early-developing, relatively automatic processes cannot directly influence verbal responses: metacognitive feelings provide for the intentional isolation of those processes and thought.
\textbf{Metacognitive feelings cannot tell you what is happening, but they can cause you to stop and think about it.}
My proposal is that metacognitive feelings may explain why early-developing, relatively automatic processes can influence looking times and arousal (as measured by pupil dilation, perhaps). This means, of course, that metacognitive feelings can both draw attention to points at which something unexpected has occurred and motivate infants to stop and look. They can therefore can implicitly guide learning about minds.
If this is right, metacognitive feelings are an indispensable part of any dual-process theory of development.

Metacognitive Feelings and Development

Knowledge of Objects & Minds

So my aim was to identify a reason for thinking that metacognitive feelings may be important in the development of abilities to track objects and their causal interactions, and minds.
My conjecture is simply that metacognitive feelings link early-developing, relatively automatic processes to the less automatic processes whose development involves a series of significant conceptual changes.
You might be tempted to assume that the reason I’ve identified doesn’t give metacognitive feelings a very important role. But I don’t think that this assumption is justified.
If you are building a survival system you want quick and dirty heuristics that are good enough to keep it alive: you don’t necessarily care about the truth. If, by contrast, you are building a thinker, you want her to be able to think things that are true irrespective of their survival value. This cuts two ways. On the one hand, you want the thinker’s thoughts not to be constrained by heuristics that ensure her survival. On the other hand, in allowing the thinker freedom to pursue the truth there is an excellent chance she will end up profoundly mistaken %(Malebranche?) or deeply confused %(Hegel?) about the nature of objects or minds. So you don’t want thought contaminated by survival heuristics and you don’t want survival heuristics contaminated by thought. Or, even if some contamination is inevitable, you want to limit it.
This combination is beautifully achieved by giving your thinker relatively automatic processes for tracking objects and minds which appear fully-formed early in development, and also a mind which allows her to acquire knowledge of minds gradually over years, taking advantage of social interactions.
As intentional isolators, metacognitive feelings enable distinct kinds of process to operate with fundamentally different ways of modelling a domain throughout life.
So the \textbf{intentional isolation} provided by metacognitive feelings is critical: it allows development to be a process of rediscovery, and so extracts maximum benefit from the operations of distinct processes for tracking objects and minds.
\section{Note} [***DONE : Aim of last update was to reflect this simple way of putting it:] There is a problem about apparently puzzling interactions (or ‘discrepant patterns’) in many domains (not just objects and minds but also actions, colours, and more). The apparently puzzling interaction may motivate appealing to one or another kind of dual process theory. But such theories are ill suited to fully explain the discrepant patterns. This may be because they neglect the role of metacognitive feelings. Maybe it’s metacognitive feelings that connect multiple processes?

Conjecture

Metacognitive feelings

connect developmentally unchanging, fast processes
for tracking objects and minds
to slow processes.