The development of Theory of mind from middle childhood into adolescence

Název česky Vývoj Teórie mysle od staršieho školského veku do adolescencie

JÁNI Martin

Rok publikování 2014
Druh Konferenční abstrakty
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Lékařská fakulta

Popis Previous research shows that preschool children can master 2nd order of intentionality while the peak in adult population is around 5th order. Theory of mind (ToM) continues to develop due to integration with other cognitive processes such as executive functioning. Intense socialization during school years suggests that rapid ToM development occurs in this age. To investigate this assumption, middle childhood group (age 9-10, N = 29) and adolescent group (age 13-14, N = 43) were presented with 3 stories with complex social scenario. After each story, participants were asked to fill out questions about mental states of others (experimental condition measuring orders of intentionality) or about simple facts (control condition). The average order of intentionality achieved by adolescents was significantly higher (m = 4.58, sd = 0.48) than by younger group (m = 3.92, sd = 0.79, p < .001). The adolescent group performed better also in control condition (m = 13.4, sd = 0.9) than younger group (m = 12.66, sd = 1.2). When analyzing stories separately, only one story showed the same pattern. Significant differences between age groups in other two stories were found only in ToM condition while memory performance was comparable. However, ToMd performance show rather continuous improvement with age which reflects quite developed social life even in middle childhood. In addition, significant relationship has been found between ToM and memory performance only in middle childhood group (rs = .60; p = .001) and not in the adolescent group (rs = .16; p = .311), suggesting that the development of ToM might be still dependent on other cognitive processes (such as memory or reading literacy) in this age.

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