Exploring the relation between maternal mind-mindedness and children's symbolic play: A longitudinal study from 6 to 18 months.Infancy. 2020 01; 25(1):67-83.I
Relations between mothers' mind-mindedness (appropriate attunement to their infants' internal states) at 6 and 12 months and infants' early symbolic play during infant-mother pretense at 12 and 18 months were investigated in a sample of 43 mothers and infants. Mothers' appropriate mind-related comments were associated with average level, length, complexity, and maturity level of symbolic play. Specific sub-categories of appropriate mind-related comments were identified as independent predictors of children's symbolic play. Appropriate comments about desires and cognitions at 6 months were associated with average level and length of episodes, as well as with maturity level of symbolic play at 12 months. Longitudinal stability in the appropriateness and content of mothers' mind-related comments was also investigated. The results are discussed in terms of the proposal that attunement to specific types of internal state should vary as a function of infant age in order to index mind-mindedness.