Early manifestations of children's theory of mind: The roles of maternal mind-mindedness and infant security of attachment

Jessica Laranjo, Annie Bernier, Elizabeth Meins, Stephanie M. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated two aspects of mother-child relationships-mothers' mind-mindedness and infant attachment security-in relation to two early aspects of children's theory of mind development (ToM). Sixty-one mother-child dyads (36 girls) participated in testing phases at 12 (T1), 15 (T2), and 26 months of age (T3), allowing for assessment of maternal mind-mindedness (T1), infant attachment (T2), and child ToM understanding (T3). Results indicated that children's understanding of discrepant desires and visual perspectives was positively related to their mothers' earlier use of appropriate mind-related comments in certain contexts. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring comprehension of their mothers' visual perspective. Hence, the links previously found between competent parenting and older children's ToM performance appear to extend, to a certain degree, to toddlers' first manifestations of ToM understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-323
Number of pages24
JournalInfancy
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

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