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Child Dev. 2004 Mar-Apr;75(2):523-41.

Scaling of theory-of-mind tasks.

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Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0406, USA.


Two studies address the sequence of understandings evident in preschoolers' developing theory of mind. The first, preliminary study provides a meta-analysis of research comparing different types of mental state understandings (e.g., desires vs. beliefs, ignorance vs. false belief). The second, primary study tests a theory-of-mind scale for preschoolers. In this study 75 children (aged 2 years, 11 months to 6 years, 6 months) were tested on 7 tasks tapping different aspects of understanding persons' mental states. Responses formed a consistent developmental progression, where for most children if they passed a later item they passed all earlier items as well, as confirmed by Guttman and Rasch measurement model analyses.

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