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Theory of mind concepts in children's literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Kimberly Wright Cassidy*
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Lorraine V. Ball
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Mary T. Rourke
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Rebecca Stetson Werner
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Norah Feeny
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
June Y. Chu
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Donna J. Lutz
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
Alexis Perkins
Affiliation:
Bryn Mawr College
*
Department of Psychology, Bryn Mawr College, 101 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. Email: kcassidy@brynmawr.edu

Abstract

This study examined whether books that are typically read to preschool children contain theory of mind concepts. The parents of 47 preschool children recorded books read by or to their child over a one-week period. The books were analyzed for theory of mind content. It was found that 78% of the books contained internal state language, 34% contained false beliefs, and 43% contained personality descriptors. Thus, theory of mind concepts appear to be an integral part of the literature read to preschool children. These results are discussed in light of recent work on individual differences in theory of mind development.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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