Scaling theory of mind development in Indigenous- and Anglo-Australian toddlers and older children

O'Reilly, Jessica and Peterson, Candida C. (2014) Scaling theory of mind development in Indigenous- and Anglo-Australian toddlers and older children. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 45 9: 1489-1501. doi:10.1177/0022022114542285


Author O'Reilly, Jessica
Peterson, Candida C.
Title Scaling theory of mind development in Indigenous- and Anglo-Australian toddlers and older children
Journal name Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1552-5422
0022-0221
Publication date 2014-10
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0022022114542285
Open Access Status
Volume 45
Issue 9
Start page 1489
End page 1501
Total pages 13
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher SAGE Publications
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract We examined the growth of a theory of mind (ToM) in Indigenous Australian children who spoke Aboriginal English as their first language. We also pioneered the suitability of a five-step developmental scale of ToM understanding for 2-year-old toddlers from Indigenous- and Anglo-Australian cultural backgrounds. A total of 97 children aged 2 to 5 years took (a) a battery of false belief (FB) tests, (b) a developmental ToM Scale, and (c) a standard language ability test. Results showed that, contrary to earlier findings for Piagetian tasks, the Indigenous Australian children were not delayed in ToM understanding. Instead, at age 2, Indigenous toddlers significantly outperformed their Anglo peers and throughout the preschool years they scored just as highly on FB and all ToM Scale steps as Anglo-Australians their age, notwithstanding their statistically significant delays behind Anglo-Australians in standard English language skill (the language of testing). We also found, for the first time, that the five-step ToM Scale was both suitable for, and sensitive to individual differences in, children as young as age 2. These findings add to a growing body of research highlighting the importance of early family and cultural experiences for the growth of social cognition.
Keyword Developmental
Cognitive
Social cognition
Communication
Cultural psychology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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