Factors influencing the development of a theory of mind in blind children

Peterson, C. C., Peterson, J. L. and Webb, J. (2000) Factors influencing the development of a theory of mind in blind children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18 3: 431-447. doi:10.1348/026151000165788

Author Peterson, C. C.
Peterson, J. L.
Webb, J.
Title Factors influencing the development of a theory of mind in blind children
Journal name British Journal of Developmental Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0261-510X
Publication date 2000-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1348/026151000165788
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 18
Issue 3
Start page 431
End page 447
Total pages 17
Editor G. Bremner
Place of publication U.K.
Publisher British Psychological Society
Language eng
Subject C1
380399 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified
780108 Behavioural and cognitive sciences
Abstract This study explored the development of a theory of mind in blind children aged 5 to 12 years. A total of 23 children with severe visual impairment or total blindness in three age groups (6, 8 and 12 years) were tested on a battery of four false belief rests involving changed locations and misleading appearances. They also took a standard test of Level 2 visual perspective-taking. A majority of 6-year-old blind children failed the false belief tests, and though performance improved with age, significant difficulties persisted in the 8-year-olds whose performance did not exceed chance on most tasks. However, the 12-year-olds displayed an understanding of mental states char was near ceiling with 70% of them passing all four tests of false belief and 90% passing at least three. The results of a multiple regression analysis confirmed that whereas increasing age significantly predicted gains in false belief understanding, the child's level of visual impairment (totally blind or severely visually impaired) did not influence false belief performance. Accurate Level 2 visual perspective-taking was present in the vast majority of these children from the age of 6 years, so that the difficulties observed with theory of mind concepts could not be attributed to an inability to understand other people's perceptions. In contrast to previous research, the blind children in the present sample found false belief tests involving che changed location of objects just as difficult as those involving misleading containers. There were similarly no significant effects of gender, or of the presence or absence of a physical or learning disability, upon false belief performance.
Keyword Psychology, Developmental
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 43 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 21:35:57 EST