This work was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant to the first two authors. We thank the mothers and children who kindly took part in this study. We are also grateful to three anonymous reviewers whose careful and constructive comments led to numerous improvements in the manuscript.
Mind What Mother Says: Narrative Input and Theory of Mind in Typical Children and Those on the Autism Spectrum
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2007
Volume 78, Issue 3, pages 839–858, May/June 2007
How to Cite
Slaughter, V., Peterson, C. C. and Mackintosh, E. (2007), Mind What Mother Says: Narrative Input and Theory of Mind in Typical Children and Those on the Autism Spectrum. Child Development, 78: 839–858. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01036.x
- Issue published online: 1 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 16 MAY 2007
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.