The Relation Between Executive Function and Theory of Mind is More Than Skin Deep

Stephanie M. Carlson, Laura J. Claxton, Louis J. Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

A simple “expression” account of the relation between executive function (EF) and children's developing theory of mind (ToM) has difficulty accounting for the generality of the changes occurring in children's mental-state understanding during the preschool years. The current study of preschool children (N = 43) showed that EF—especially conflict EF—related uniformly to ToM measures that imposed either high or low executive demands, independent of verbal ability. These findings can be explained within an emergence account wherein executive skills are implicated in the acquisition of mental-state concepts as opposed to merely the expression of these concepts in task performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-197
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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