A teacher-centered exploration of the relevance of social factors to theory of mind development

Wright, B.C. ORCID: 0000-0002-4946-9761 and Mahfoud, J., 2014. A teacher-centered exploration of the relevance of social factors to theory of mind development. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 55 (1), pp. 17-25. ISSN 0036-5564

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Many accounts of children's Theory of Mind (ToM) development favor a cognitive explanation, for example, in terms of mental representational improvements at or before 4 years. Here, we investigated whether social factors as rated by a child's teacher, are related to ToM development. We tested 82 children of 3–6 years on each of four ToM tasks, and their class teacher completed a social questionnaire about each child's playing behavior, sharing, talkativeness, confidence, aggressiveness and outgoingness. A measure of task memory and the child's gender were also recorded. Here, children generally passed ToM tasks after 5 years‐old, but no one gender performed reliably better than the other. Teacher‐rated confidence and playing behavior were correlated to ToM. But in a regression analysis, these were replaced by teacher‐rated talkativeness; with age and memory given primacy in both sets of analyses. It is concluded that maturation and cognitive factors may well have primacy but social factors, facilitated during early primary education, must also be given a role in ToM development.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Creators: Wright, B.C. and Mahfoud, J.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Date: February 2014
Volume: 55
Number: 1
ISSN: 0036-5564
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 14 Aug 2019 13:28
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2019 13:28
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37312

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