A longitudinal investigation of the relationship between symbolic gesture, maternal mind-mindedness and theory of mind.

Elizabeth Kirk, Karen Pine, Lisa Wheatley, Neil Howlett, Joerg Schulz, Ben Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Follow-up data are presented from a longitudinal investigation of the effects of encouraging symbolic gesture in mother-infant dyads. Infants had been randomly allocated to either gesture training or control conditions at 8 months and routinely assessed until 20 months (Kirk et al., 2013). We followed-up these children (aged five) and tested whether mind-mindedness during infancy would predict children’s higher order Theory of Mind (ToM, measured using the Strange Stories task, Happé, 1997) and whether gesture training boosted this ability to attribute mental states to others. Children’s ToM was significantly predicted by mothers’ appropriate mind-related comments when infants were 10, 12 and 20 months of age. Encouraging gesture in infancy did not result in observable differences in ToM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-445
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume33
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2015

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