This study explores the development of theory of mind, operationalized as recursive thinking ability, from adolescence to early adulthood (N = 110; young adolescents = 47; adolescents = 43; young adults = 20). The construct of theory of mind has been operationalized in two different ways: as the ability to recognize the correct mental state of a character, and as the ability to attribute the correct mental state in order to predict the character’s behaviour. The Imposing Memory Task, with five recursive thinking levels, and a third-order false-belief task with three recursive thinking levels (devised for this study) have been used. The relationship among working memory, executive functions, and linguistic skills are also analysed. Results show that subjects exhibit less understanding of elevated recursive thinking levels (third, fourth, and fifth) compared to the first and second levels. Working memory is correlated with total recursive thinking, whereas performance on the linguistic comprehension task is related to third level recursive thinking in both theory of mind tasks. An effect of age on third-order false-belief task performance was also found. A key finding of the present study is that the third-order false-belief task shows significant age differences in the application of recursive thinking that involves the prediction of others’ behaviour. In contrast, such an age effect is not observed in the Imposing Memory Task. These results may support the extension of the investigation of the third order false belief after childhood.

Valle, A., Massaro, D., Castelli, I., Marchetti, A., Theory of Mind Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood: The Growing Complexity of Recursive Thinking Ability, <<EUROPE'S JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY>>, 2015; 11 (1): 112-124. [doi:10.5964/ejop.v11i1.829] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/65284]

Theory of Mind Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood: The Growing Complexity of Recursive Thinking Ability

Valle, Annalisa;Massaro, Davide;Castelli, Ilaria;Marchetti, Antonella
2015

Abstract

This study explores the development of theory of mind, operationalized as recursive thinking ability, from adolescence to early adulthood (N = 110; young adolescents = 47; adolescents = 43; young adults = 20). The construct of theory of mind has been operationalized in two different ways: as the ability to recognize the correct mental state of a character, and as the ability to attribute the correct mental state in order to predict the character’s behaviour. The Imposing Memory Task, with five recursive thinking levels, and a third-order false-belief task with three recursive thinking levels (devised for this study) have been used. The relationship among working memory, executive functions, and linguistic skills are also analysed. Results show that subjects exhibit less understanding of elevated recursive thinking levels (third, fourth, and fifth) compared to the first and second levels. Working memory is correlated with total recursive thinking, whereas performance on the linguistic comprehension task is related to third level recursive thinking in both theory of mind tasks. An effect of age on third-order false-belief task performance was also found. A key finding of the present study is that the third-order false-belief task shows significant age differences in the application of recursive thinking that involves the prediction of others’ behaviour. In contrast, such an age effect is not observed in the Imposing Memory Task. These results may support the extension of the investigation of the third order false belief after childhood.
Inglese
Valle, A., Massaro, D., Castelli, I., Marchetti, A., Theory of Mind Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood: The Growing Complexity of Recursive Thinking Ability, <<EUROPE'S JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY>>, 2015; 11 (1): 112-124. [doi:10.5964/ejop.v11i1.829] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/65284]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Valle et al._2015.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia file ?: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 533.05 kB
Formato Unknown
533.05 kB Unknown Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/65284
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 69
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 60
social impact