ERIC Number: EJ1152912
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Action Mechanisms for Social Cognition: Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Developing Theory of Mind
Bowman, Lindsay C.; Thorpe, Samuel G.; Cannon, Erin N.; Fox, Nathan A.
Developmental Science, v20 n5 Sep 2017
Many psychological theories posit foundational links between two fundamental constructs: (1) our ability to produce, perceive, and represent action; and (2) our ability to understand the meaning and motivation behind the action (i.e. Theory of Mind; ToM). This position is contentious, however, and long-standing competing theories of social-cognitive development debate roles for basic action-processing in ToM. Developmental research is key to investigating these hypotheses, but whether individual differences in neural and behavioral measures of motor action relate to social-cognitive development is unknown. We examined 3- to 5-year-old children's (N = 26) EEG mu-desynchronization during production of object-directed action, and explored associations between mu-desynchronization and children's behavioral motor skills, behavioral action-representation abilities, and behavioral ToM. For children with high (but not low) mu-desynchronization, motor skill related to action-representation abilities, and action-representation mediated relations between motor skill and ToM. Results demonstrate novel foundational links between action-processing and ToM, suggesting that basic motor action may be a key mechanism for social-cognitive development, thus shedding light on the origins and emergence of higher social cognition.
Descriptors: Social Cognition, Theory of Mind, Preschool Children, Individual Differences, Psychomotor Skills, Social Development, Cognitive Development, Child Behavior
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: P01HD064653