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Theory of mind child*

Rebecca-Lee Kuhnert, Sander Begeer, Elian Fink, Marc de Rosnay
Although key differences have been found in boys' and girls' prosocial behavior toward peers, few studies have systematically examined gender differences in how intrinsic perspective-taking abilities-theory of mind (ToM) and emotion understanding (EU)-and the extrinsic peer environment relate to prosocial behavior. In this prospective longitudinal study, we studied gender differences in the relations between children's observed prosocial behavior and their ToM, EU, and social preference ratings in 114 children (58 boys and 56 girls)...
October 22, 2016: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Veronica Ornaghi, Alessandro Pepe, Ilaria Grazzani
Emotion comprehension (EC) is known to be a key correlate and predictor of prosociality from early childhood. In the present study, we examined this relationship within the broad theoretical construct of social understanding which includes a number of socio-emotional skills, as well as cognitive and linguistic abilities. Theory of mind, especially false-belief understanding, has been found to be positively correlated with both EC and prosocial orientation. Similarly, language ability is known to play a key role in children's socio-emotional development...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Sara T Baker, Alan M Leslie, C R Gallistel, Bruce M Hood
Although learning and development reflect changes situated in an individual brain, most discussions of behavioral change are based on the evidence of group averages. Our reliance on group-averaged data creates a dilemma. On the one hand, we need to use traditional inferential statistics. On the other hand, group averages are highly ambiguous when we need to understand change in the individual; the average pattern of change may characterize all, some, or none of the individuals in the group. Here we present a new method for statistically characterizing developmental change in each individual child we study...
October 20, 2016: Cognitive Psychology
Frances Buttelmann, David Buttelmann
The ability to attribute and represent others' mental states (e.g., beliefs; so-called "theory of mind") is essential for participation in human social interaction. Despite a considerable body of research using tasks in which protagonists in the participants' attentional focus held false or true beliefs, the question of automatic belief attribution to bystander agents has received little attention. In the current study, we presented adults and 6-year-olds (N=92) with an implicit computer-based avoidance false-belief task in which participants were asked to place an object into one of three boxes...
October 11, 2016: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
David Klindt, Marie Devaine, Jean Daunizeau
Mentalizing or Theory of Mind (ToM), i.e., the ability to recognize what people think or feel, is a crucial component of human social intelligence. It has been recently proposed that ToM can be decomposed into automatic and controlled neurocognitive components, where only the latter engage executive functions (e.g., working memory, inhibitory control and task switching). Critical here is the notion that such dual processes are expected to follow different developmental dynamics. In this work, we provide novel experimental evidence for this notion...
September 23, 2016: Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior
Katrin Döhnel, Tobias Schuwerk, Beate Sodian, Göran Hajak, Rainer Rupprecht, Monika Sommer
False belief reasoning is a key Theory of Mind (ToM) competence. By four years of age children understand that a person's behaviour can be based on a false belief about reality. Children cannot understand that a person's emotion can also be based on a false belief before the age of six. In order to generate hypothesis on basic processes distinguishing these two types of belief reasoning, the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in adults directly compares functional activity associated with these two false belief tasks...
October 5, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Gabriella Airenti
In the developmental literature, the idea has been proposed that young children do not understand the specificity of non-literal communicative acts. In this article, I focus on young children's ability to produce and understand different forms of humor. I explore the acquisition of the communicative contexts that enable children to engage in humorous interactions before they possess the capacity to analyze them in the terms afforded by a full-fledged theory of mind. I suggest that different forms of humor share several basic features and that we can construct a continuum from simple to sophisticated forms...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Susanna Pallini, Agnese Alfani, Lucrezia Marech, Fiorenzo Laghi
OBJECTIVES: Women victims of IPV are more likely insecurely attached and have experienced childhood abuse, which according to the attachment theory is deeply related to disorganized attachment. This case-control study was performed with the aim to compare the attachment status and the defensive processing patterns of women victims of IPV (cases) with women with no experiences of IPV (controls). METHODS: Cases were 16 women with an age range from 26 years to 51 years...
October 4, 2016: Psychology and Psychotherapy
Charlotte Grosse Wiesmann, Angela D Friederici, Tania Singer, Nikolaus Steinbeis
The ability to represent the mental states of other agents is referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM). A developmental breakthrough in ToM consists of understanding that others can have false beliefs about the world. Recently, infants younger than 2 years of age have been shown to pass novel implicit false belief tasks. However, the processes underlying these tasks and their relation to later-developing explicit false belief understanding, as well as to other cognitive abilities, are not yet understood. Here, we study a battery of implicit and explicit false belief tasks in 3- and 4-year-old children, relating their performance to linguistic abilities and executive functions...
October 2, 2016: Developmental Science
Eilidh Cage, Geoffrey Bird, Elizabeth Pellicano
Being able to manage reputation is an important social skill, but it is unclear whether autistic children can manage reputation. This study investigated whether 33 autistic children matched to 33 typical children could implicitly or explicitly manage reputation. Further, we examined whether cognitive processes-theory of mind, social motivation, inhibitory control and reciprocity-contribute to reputation management. Results showed that neither group implicitly managed reputation, and there was no group difference in explicit reputation management...
September 30, 2016: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Anna Amadó, Elisabet Serrat, Eduard Vallès-Majoral
Many studies show a link between social cognition, a set of cognitive and emotional abilities applied to social situations, and executive functions in typical developing children. Children with Down syndrome (DS) show deficits both in social cognition and in some subcomponents of executive functions. However this link has barely been studied in this population. The aim of this study is to investigate the links between social cognition and executive functions among children with DS. We administered a battery of social cognition and executive function tasks (six theory of mind tasks, a test of emotion comprehension, and three executive function tasks) to a group of 30 participants with DS between 4 and 12 years of age...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Cristina Colonnesi, Milica Nikolić, Wieke de Vente, Susan M Bögels
Children's early onset of social anxiety may be associated with their social understanding, and their ability to express emotions adaptively. We examined whether social anxiety in 48-month-old children (N = 110; 54 boys) was related to: a) a lower level of theory of mind (ToM); b) a lower proclivity to express shyness in a positive way (adaptive); and c) a higher tendency to express shyness in a negative way (non-adaptive). In addition, we investigated to what extent children's level of social anxiety was predicted by the interaction between ToM and expressions of shyness...
September 24, 2016: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
A J Noble, A Robinson, A G Marson
Feelings of stigma are one of the main burdens reported by people with epilepsy (PWE). Adults with temporal or frontal lobe epilepsy and children with idiopathic generalised epilepsy are at risk of Theory of Mind (ToM) deficits. ToM refers to social cognitive skills, including the ability to understand the thoughts, intentions, beliefs, and emotions of others. It has been proffered that ToM deficits may contribute to the feelings of stigma experienced by PWE. In this study we tested this for the first time...
2016: Behavioural Neurology
Jian Hao, Yanchun Liu
The rationalistic theories of morality emphasize that reasoning plays an important role in moral judgments and prosocial behavior. Theory of mind as a reasoning ability in the mental domain has been considered a facilitator of moral development. The present study examined whether theory of mind was consistently positively associated with morality from middle childhood to late adulthood. Two hundred and four participants, including 48 elementary school children, 45 adolescents, 62 younger adults, and 49 older adults, completed theory of mind, moral judgment and prosocial behavior tasks...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Simon R Cox, Thomas H Bak, Michael Allerhand, Paul Redmond, John M Starr, Ian J Deary, Sarah E MacPherson
The influence of bilingualism on cognitive functioning is currently a topic of intense scientific debate. The strongest evidence for a cognitive benefit of bilingualism has been demonstrated in executive functions. However, the causal direction of the relationship remains unclear: does learning other languages improve executive functions or are people with better executive abilities more likely to become bilingual? To address this, we examined 90 male participants of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936; 26 were bilingual, 64 monolingual...
August 29, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Lindsay C Bowman, Samuel G Thorpe, Erin N Cannon, Nathan A Fox
Many psychological theories posit foundational links between two fundamental constructs: (1) our ability to produce, perceive, and represent action; and (2) our ability to understand the meaning and motivation behind the action (i.e. Theory of Mind; ToM). This position is contentious, however, and long-standing competing theories of social-cognitive development debate roles for basic action-processing in ToM. Developmental research is key to investigating these hypotheses, but whether individual differences in neural and behavioral measures of motor action relate to social-cognitive development is unknown...
August 29, 2016: Developmental Science
Paula Rubio-Fernández
In standard Theory of Mind tasks, such as the Sally-Anne, children have to predict the behaviour of a mistaken character, which requires attributing the character a false belief. Hundreds of developmental studies in the last 30 years have shown that children under 4 fail standard false-belief tasks. However, recent studies have revealed that bilingual children and adults outperform their monolingual peers in this type of tasks. Bilinguals' better performance in false-belief tasks has generally been interpreted as a result of their better inhibitory control; that is, bilinguals are allegedly better than monolinguals at inhibiting the erroneous response to the false-belief question...
August 29, 2016: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Courtney L Ball, Judith G Smetana, Melissa L Sturge-Apple
Associations among hypothetical, prototypic moral, and conventional judgments; theory of mind (ToM); empathy; and personal distress were examined in 108 socioeconomically diverse preschoolers (Mage  = 42.94 months, SD = 1.42). Repeated measures analysis of covariance with empathy, false beliefs, and their interaction as covariates indicated that empathy was significantly associated with judgments of greater moral but not conventional transgression severity, particularly for psychological harm, and with deserved punishment for unfairness...
August 25, 2016: Child Development
Alba Agostino, Nancie Im-Bolter, Arianna K Stefanatos, Maureen Dennis
Ironic criticism and empathic praise are forms of social communication that influence the affective states of others in a negative or positive way. In a sample of 76 typically developing children and adolescents (mean age = 11 years; 4 months; SD: 2 years; 8 months), we studied how understanding of emotional expression (facial expression of emotion) and emotive communication (affective theory of mind) was related to the ability to understand negatively valenced ironic criticism and positively valenced empathic praise...
August 19, 2016: British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Ruth M Ford, Sarah Griffiths, Kerryn Neulinger, Glenda Andrews, David H K Shum, Peter H Gray
Relatively little is known about episodic memory (EM: memory for personally-experienced events) and prospective memory (PM: memory for intended actions) in children born very preterm (VP) or with very low birth weight (VLBW). This study evaluates EM and PM in mainstream-schooled 7- to 9-year-olds born VP (≤ 32 weeks) and/or VLBW (< 1500 g) and matches full-term children for comparison (n = 35 and n = 37, respectively). Additionally, participants were assessed for verbal and non-verbal ability, executive function (EF), and theory of mind (ToM)...
August 19, 2016: Child Neuropsychology: a Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence
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