The Development of Second-order Social Cognition and its Relation with Complex Language Understanding and Memory

Abstract

In this study, the development of second-order social cognition and its possible relationship with language and memory were investigated. For this reason two second-order false belief tasks (FBT_2), a short term memory task (WST), a complex working memory task (LST), a linguistic perspective-taking test (PTT) and a double-embedded relative clause task (REL_2) were used with 21 Turkish kindergarten children (aged 4-5 years), 47 primary school children (aged 6-12 years) and 10 adults. A general developmental trend was found for all tasks. However, a multiple linear regression showed that once age was partialed out, none of the other tasks could predict FBT_2 scores. Our findings are consistent with the modularity view that Theory of Mind (ToM) is a faculty of the human mind that does not share intrinsic content with other faculties such as language and memory (Leslie et al., 2004) and also with Apperly's (2011) 'two-systems' account of Theory of Mind. However, it develops together with those other faculties which may constrain the expression of children’s false belief reasoning as a manifestation of their social cognitive abilities.


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