The authors thank the children who participated and their parents and teachers. This research was partly supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant to Peterson, Slaughter, and Wellman and a U.S. National Institute of Health grant to Wellman.
The Mind Behind the Message: Advancing Theory-of-Mind Scales for Typically Developing Children, and Those With Deafness, Autism, or Asperger Syndrome
Article first published online: 3 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 83, Issue 2, pages 469–485, March/April 2012
How to Cite
Peterson, C. C., Wellman, H. M. and Slaughter, V. (2012), The Mind Behind the Message: Advancing Theory-of-Mind Scales for Typically Developing Children, and Those With Deafness, Autism, or Asperger Syndrome. Child Development, 83: 469–485. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01728.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 3 FEB 2012
Children aged 3–12 years (n = 184) with typical development, deafness, autism, or Asperger syndrome took a series of theory-of-mind (ToM) tasks to confirm and extend previous developmental scaling evidence. A new sarcasm task, in the format of H. M. Wellman and D. Liu’s (2004) 5-step ToM Scale, added a statistically reliable 6th step to the scale for all diagnostic groups. A key previous finding, divergence in task sequencing for children with autism, was confirmed. Comparisons among diagnostic groups, controlling age, and language ability, showed that typical developers mastered the 6 ToM steps ahead of each of the 3 disabled groups, with implications for ToM theories. The final (sarcasm) task challenged even nondisabled 9-year-olds, demonstrating the new scale’s sensitivity to post-preschool ToM growth.