Talking about others facilitates theory of mind in Chinese preschoolers

Dev Psychol. 2008 Nov;44(6):1726-36. doi: 10.1037/a0013074.


A longitudinal study and a training study were conducted to show that simply referring to others facilitated theory of mind (ToM) development in Chinese children. In Study 1, 3- to 4-year-old Chinese children (N = 52) were tested on ToM and autobiographical memory (AM). One year later, in the group of children who initially failed the false belief tasks, only those who increased their references to others in AM recall passed the tasks. In Study 2, Chinese preschoolers who were trained to talk about others through storytelling showed improvement in their ToM performance. These findings suggest alternative pathways for ToM development in non-Euro-American context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asians / psychology*
  • Awareness
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Culture
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Personal Construct Theory*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Semantics
  • Social Perception
  • Socialization
  • Verbal Behavior*