Common Development of Theory of Mind and Referent Selection

Karadaki, Theodora (2020) Common Development of Theory of Mind and Referent Selection. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Within a given conversation, children appear to think of labels as mutually exclusive. For instance, if they are presented with a familiar (e.g. shoe) and an unfamiliar object (e.g. whisk) and then are asked to pick the referent of a novel name (e.g. ‘Where is the hinkel?’), they choose the novel object. Various theoretical accounts have been proposed to explain this phenomenon and claim that it is a word- learning strategy. The aim of the present thesis is to demonstrate that the difficulty in using multiple labels is the result of the inability to understand perspective. 331 children predominantly between the ages of 3 and 5 years, were tested on a variety of referent selection tasks assessing their metalinguistic awareness, and theory of mind tasks assessing their metacognitive abilities. Results showed that 3- to 4-year-olds resisted applying two labels to the same object and applied the second name to un- named objects. In contrast, 5- to 6-year-olds accepted both labels significantly above chance. The likelihood of a child applying two names to one object was strongly related to theory of mind performance and remained robust even after partialing out age and verbal mental age. Results were extended to two other populations; bilingual and ASD children. The present thesis showed that children overcome the confusion multiple labels bring once they develop an understanding of perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2020 17:24
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 17:24
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/74473
DOI:

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