Culture and the sequence of steps in theory of mind development

Journal article


Shahaeian, Ameneh, Peterson, Candida, Slaughter, Virginia and Wellman, Henry. (2011) Culture and the sequence of steps in theory of mind development. Developmental Psychology. 47(5), pp. 1239 - 1247. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023899
AuthorsShahaeian, Ameneh, Peterson, Candida, Slaughter, Virginia and Wellman, Henry
Abstract

To examine cultural contrasts in the ordered sequence of conceptual developments leading to theory of mind (ToM), we compared 135 3- to 6-year-olds (77 Australians; 58 Iranians) on an established 5-step ToM scale (Wellman & Liu, 2004). There was a cross-cultural difference in the sequencing of ToM steps but not in overall rates of ToM mastery. In line with our predictions, the children from Iran conformed to a distinctive sequence previously observed only in children in China. In contrast to the case with children from Australia (and the United States), knowledge access was understood earlier than opinion diversity in children from Iran, consistent with this collectivist culture's emphasis on filial respect, dispute avoidance, and acquiring knowledge. Having a sibling was linked with faster overall ToM progress in Australia only and was not related to scale sequences in either culture.

Year2011
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Journal citation47 (5), pp. 1239 - 1247
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN0012-1649
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023899
Scopus EID2-s2.0-80052824007
Page range1239 - 1247
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/89q62/culture-and-the-sequence-of-steps-in-theory-of-mind-development

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