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ERIC Number: ED569257
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 194
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3395-3549-4
ISSN: N/A
Improving Preschoolers' Theory of Mind Skills with Digital Games: A Training Study
Nikolayev, Mariya
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, George Mason University
This single-subject research study examined functional relation between digital games enriched with voice-overs and theory of mind (ToM) when game play was either followed or not followed by a discussion focused on the game's content. The study employed multiple baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of games with mental state language voice-overs as well as games with mental state language voice-overs combined with a follow-up discussion of children's ToM skills. ToM was assessed with two measures based on a continuous ToM assessment scale; the first measure included three tasks and targeted earlier-developing ToM skills (diverse desires, diverse beliefs, and knowledge access) and the other measure included 2 tasks that assessed later-developing ToM competency, false belief understanding. The voice-overs for the games were created based on results of research studies examining language conducive to ToM development and validated by a group of early childhood educators. The participants were 6 typically developing children between the ages of 46 and 52 months enrolled in a preschool center serving working-class families in a suburban area of a large Mid-Atlantic state. Data were collected on children's performance in each of the three phases of the study. In baseline, children played games without voice-overs and underwent ToM assessment procedures; in the original treatment phase, participants played games with embedded voice-overs and then underwent ToM assessment procedures; finally, in the modified treatment phase, participants first played games with embedded voice-overs, then participated in the researcher-led discussion, and concluded sessions with the assessment procedures. Data analyses included visual inspection of data and calculations of NonOverlap of All Pairs (NAP). The main findings included: 1. There was no evidence of functional relation between children's understanding that people have different desires, beliefs, and knowledge access and the mental state language voice-overs in digital games, however only 2 children showed some improvement in ToM. 2. No evidence of functional relation between children's false belief understanding and mental state language voice-overs in digital games was observed. 3. A strong evidence of functional relation between children's understanding that people have different desires, beliefs, and knowledge access and mental state language voice-overs in digital games was observed when the game play was followed by a discussion about the games. All participants earned maximum scores in their answers regarding diverse desires, beliefs, and knowledge access questions during that phase. 4. No evidence of functional relation between children's false belief understanding and mental state language voice-overs in digital games was observed when the game play with voice-overs was followed by a discussion about the games. However, 2 children showed improvement in false belief understanding during the last treatment phase of the study. Social validity interviews were conducted with participants, a teacher, and a social worker to determine participants' perceptions regarding usefulness and effectiveness of ToM-promoting digital games. Findings are discussed with respect to the fields of ToM development and learning from technology, study limitations, and implications and recommendations for both practical implementation and future research. Overall, results of this study indicate that the incorporation of ToM-conducive language in digital games can be beneficial for improving ToM, as it can prompt parents or teachers to engage in conversations about mental states by leaning and expanding on voice-overs found in the games. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A