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Title: Putting the pieces together: The development of theory of mind and (mental) language
Written By: Hannah de Mulder
Series Title: LOT Dissertation series
Description:

This dissertation is about the nature of the relationship between language and
Theory of Mind (ToM, the ability to understand other people’s mental states).
Does the development of language influence the child’s ToM development or
is the child’s understanding of other people’s mental states crucial in the
development of language? Each of the chapters in this dissertation attempts
to address this question by focussing on children’s ToM development in
relation not only to their linguistic capacities in a general sense (e.g. general
vocabulary and understanding of syntax), but also to their understanding of
language that relates to mental states more directly: “mental” language (e.g.
understanding of mental state verbs and indirect requests). This dissertation
investigates this relationship in three- to six-year-old children, in typically and
atypically developing populations, in correlational and longitudinal studies
using not only traditional or standardised assessment materials, but novel
methods of testing as well. The main finding of this thesis is that there is a
complex developmental relationship between language and ToM, with bi-
directional relations between some domains of language and ToM, but
idirectional relationships from other domains of language to ToM. More
specifically, this dissertation demonstrates that although ToM and both
general and mental vocabulary are bi-directionally related (ToM influences
vocabulary development and vocabulary influences ToM development), the
child needs a certain level of general language ability at the sentential level to
develop ToM. However, a post-hoc finding suggests that understanding of
locative prepositions may be an important prerequisite for ToM development
as well.

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Cognitive Science
Language Acquisition
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789460930546