Parenting, language, and perspective taking: advantages of constructivist approaches

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Theory of mind (ToM) is a type of cognitive perspective taking which involves the ability to attribute mental states in order to explain and predict behaviour (Premack & Woodruff, 1978). The causal factors involved in the development of ToM have been the subject of vast amounts of theorizing and research. However, a focus on the development of children’s belief and desire reasoning over the last 30 years has meant that the development of children’s visual perspective taking (VPT) and emotional perspective taking skills received less attention over this period. Similarly, little attention has been paid to the relationships among the development of ToM, VPT, and emotional perspective taking skills, with resultant constraints on theorizing and research into the factors involved in the development of these skills. Although an increasing amount of empirical evidence has highlighted the importance of language and social interaction in the development of children’s perspective taking skills, few theories or research projects have adequately attempted to delineate the complex and dynamic nature of the developmental relationships among these variables. Thus, the aim of the current longitudinal research project was to investigate the relationships among parenting, socio-emotional engagement, shared practices, language (sentential complements, conversation skill), cognitive flexibility, and perspective taking (cognitive, visual, emotional) in typically developing children and children with specific language impairment (SLI). This was achieved by testing hypotheses drawn from various “constructivist” theories (e.g., Racine & Carpendale, 2007; Vygotsky, 1930/1981) and, where possible, by contrasting these with predictions drawn from the dominant modular (e.g., Baron-Cohen, 1995), theory-theory (e.g., Gopnik, 1996), and simulation (e.g., Harris, 1996) theories.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010


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