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Theory of Mind (ToM) is the understanding that other individuals have separate desires, thoughts, and beliefs from one’s own. Researchers have found significant relations between ToM and language competencies; however, the way in which these two skills are related is still unclear. The present study examines if a specific language skill—the use of mental state vocabulary—is related to ToM in preschoolers. To examine this, 40 local preschoolers completed the WPPSI (an expressive vocab. battery), a ToM scale, and a novel narration task. The study has two main hypotheses: that children who used more mental-state terms in their narrations would perform better on the ToM scale, and that mental-state word usage would be a better predictor of ToM performance than expressive vocabulary alone (WPPSI). The results did not indicate a significant relation between ToM and mental-state word usage, but did reveal a significant positive correlation between WPPSI scores and ToM, supporting the second hypothesis, but not the first.
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Andersen, Mayer Brownlee, "Talking About the Mind: Mental-State Language and Theory of Mind Performance in Preschoolers" (2013). Senior Projects Spring 2013. 114.