Linking young children’s teaching to their reasoning of mental states: Evidence from Singapore
Nina Ni Ye, Gail D. Heyman, and Xiao Pan Ding
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
To fully participate in the human information-sharing ecosystem that allows for efficient knowledge dissemination and creation, children need to be able to teach others effectively. The current research is the first to investigate links between children’s teaching abilities and their developing theory of mind abilities in a non-Western sample. In a sample of 4- to 6-year-old Singaporean children (N = 49), we examined relations between specific components of theory of mind abilities and teaching ability on a social cognitive task. We found that both false belief understanding and the ability to make mental state inferences in a teaching context were associated with effective teaching even after controlling for age and language ability. These findings provide a nuanced picture of the links between mental state reasoning and teaching ability. More broadly, they provide evidence that these links extend beyond Western cultures and generalize to social-cognitive teaching contexts.
Nina Ni Ye, Gail D. Heyman, Xiao Pan Ding. Linking young children’s teaching to their reasoning of mental states: Evidence from Singapore. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Volume 209, 2021, 105175, ISSN 0022-0965, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2021.105175.
‘Children talking to one another’ from SRN’s SG Photobank
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