ERIC Number: EJ837837
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Neural Correlates of Children's Theory of Mind Development
Liu, David; Sabbagh, Mark A.; Gehring, William J.; Wellman, Henry M.
Child Development, v80 n2 p318-326 Mar-Apr 2009
Young children show significant changes in their mental-state understanding as marked by their performance on false-belief tasks. This study provides evidence for activity in the prefrontal cortex associated with the development of this ability. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded as adults (N = 24) and 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old children (N = 44) reasoned about reality and the beliefs of characters in animated vignettes. In adults, a late slow wave (LSW), with a left-frontal scalp distribution, was associated with reasoning about beliefs. This LSW was also observed for children who could correctly reason about the characters' beliefs but not in children who failed false-belief questions. These findings have several implications, including support for the critical role of the prefrontal cortex for theory of mind development.
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Young Children, Child Development, Neurological Organization, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Diagnostic Tests, Adults, Thinking Skills, Correlation, Beliefs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A