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In 2 studies mothers read wordless storybooks to their preschool-aged children; narratives were analyzed for mental state language. Children's theory-of-mind understanding (ToM) was concurrently assessed. In Study 1, children's (N=30; M age 3 years 9 months) ToM task performance was significantly correlated with mothers' explanatory, causal, and contrastive talk about cognition, but not with mothers' simple mentions of cognition. In Study 2, the same pattern was found in an older sample of typically developing children (N=24; M age 4 years 7 months), whereas for children on the autism spectrum (N=24; M age 6 years 7.5 months), ToM task performance was uniquely correlated with mothers' explanatory, causal, and contrastive talk about emotions.