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ERIC Number: EJ849747
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Children's Understanding of Idioms and Theory of Mind Development
Caillies, Stephanie; Le Sourn-Bissaoui, Sandrine
Developmental Science, v11 n5 p703-711 Sep 2008
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis according to which theory of mind competence was a prerequisite to ambiguous idioms understanding. We hypothesized that the child needs to understand that the literal interpretation could be a false world representation, a false belief, and that the speaker's intention is to mean something else, to correctly process idiomatic expressions. Two kinds of ambiguous idioms were of interest: decomposable and nondecomposable expressions ( Titone & Connine, 1999 ). An experiment was designed to assess the figurative developmental changes that occur with theory of mind competence. Five-, 6- and 7-year-old children performed five theory of mind tasks (an appearance-reality task, three false-belief tasks and a second-order false-belief task) and listened to decomposable and nondecomposable idiomatic expressions inserted in context, before performing a multiple choice task. Results indicated that only nondecomposable idiomatic expression was predicted from the theory of mind scores, and particularly from the second-order competences. Results are discussed with respect to theory of mind and verbal competences.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A