Chapter published in:Narrative, Literacy and Other Skills: Studies in intervention
Edited by Edy Veneziano and Ageliki Nicolopoulou
[Studies in Narrative 25] 2019
► pp. 129–149
Chapter 6The effects of bookreading with and without mental state themes on preschoolers’ theory of mind
This chapter reports a study providing evidence that narrative experience, in the form of interactive bookreading, promoted theory of mind abilities of preschoolers. Sixty-seven low-income 4- and 5-year-olds participated in either one of two types of bookreading training or in a control group. The two bookreading conditions involved the reading of books: (1) that included mental state themes such as characters having beliefs counter to reality (false beliefs), or characters deceiving another character to gain something from them (active deception), or characters encountering objects that falsely appear to be one thing but are entirely something else (appearance-reality distinction); or (2) that did not include such mental state themes. The control condition was a no-treatment group in which children continued their daily classroom activities. All children were pre- and post-tested on a battery of theory of mind tasks. Results indicated that children participating in bookreading with or without mental state themes improved in theory of mind abilities from pre- to post-test as compared to the no-treatment control group. However, children who were read storybooks with mental state themes demonstrated greater improvements in active deception than those in the non-mental state themes condition. These results indicate the need for further research to disentangle the impact of mental state themes, mental state concepts, and mental state language in storybooks for promoting theory of mind abilities in children.
Keywords: narrative, theory of mind, intervention, preschoolers, bookreading, mental state language, mental state themes, mental state concepts
- Why narrative may impact theory of mind development
- The impact of bookreading on theory of mind development: the role of mental state language
- The story itself: Mental state themes within storybooks
- The current study: Using bookreading to promote ToM for low-income preschoolers
- Participants and research design
- Pre- and post-test measures
- Theory of mind tasks
- Belief/desire scale
- Appearance vs. reality
- Bookreading training conditions
- Mental state vs. non mental state themes.
- Bookreading training procedures
- Control condition
- Effect of mental state themes in storybooks
- Other aspects of bookreading: Mental state language, mental state concepts, and character perspectives
- Conclusions and future directions
Published online: 06 May 2019
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