The roles of maternal mind-mindedness and infant security of attachment in predicting preschoolers' understanding of visual perspective taking and false belief.J Exp Child Psychol. 2014 Sep; 125:48-62.JE
This study is a follow-up to a previous study that examined two aspects of mother-child relationships-mothers' mind-mindedness and infant attachment security-in relation to toddlers' early manifestations of theory of mind understanding at 2 years of age. The current study aimed to assess the same two aspects of mother-child relationships in relation to children's (N=59) theory of mind performance at 4 years of age. Results of the current study confirmed and expanded on relations observed at 2 years. Mothers' use of appropriate mind-related comments specifically during toy-based free play at 12 months of age predicted preschoolers' understanding of false belief and Level 2 visual perspective taking over and above earlier perspective-taking abilities. Furthermore, more securely attached boys, but not girls, performed better on a task requiring Level 2 visual perspective taking. The similarity of results across the two time points suggests the reliability of associations among mothers' use of mind-related comments during toy-based play, boys' attachment security, and children's subsequent social understanding. The current results also suggest that maternal mind-mindedness may be most relevant to children's social cognition when assessed in toy-based play contexts.