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  Does syntax play a role in Theory of Mind development before the age of 3 years?

Kaltefleiter, L. J., Sodian, B., Kristen-Antonow, S., Grosse Wiesmann, C., & Schuwerk, T. (2021). Does syntax play a role in Theory of Mind development before the age of 3 years? Infant Behavior and Development, 64: 101575. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101575.

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Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Kaltefleiter, Larissa J.1, Author
Sodian, Beate1, Author
Kristen-Antonow, Susanne1, Author
Grosse Wiesmann, Charlotte2, Author              
Schuwerk, Tobias1, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              

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Free keywords: Complement syntax; Theory of Mind; False belief understanding; Early childhood
 Abstract: Language plays an important role in Theory of Mind development. Specifically, longitudinal and training studies indicate that the acquisition of complement syntax has an effect on three- to five-year-old children’s mastery of the concept of false belief. There is evidence for both a beginning explicit understanding of the mind and mastery of complement syntax in children before their third birthday. In the present study, we investigated longitudinally whether an early sensitivity to complement syntax is related to early development of Theory of Mind abilities in a sample of N = 159 German-speaking 27- to 36-month-old children. Children’s sensitivity to formal properties of complement syntax at 33 months was associated with their perspective-taking skills and their metacognition of own ignorance three months later. This relation remained significant when controlling for the effects of general language abilities. Furthermore, children’s sensitivity to complement syntax was concurrently related to their early false belief understanding. These findings support the view that complement syntax shares representational demands with an understanding of epistemic states and that language begins to support the acquisition of epistemic concepts earlier than was previously thought.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-05-072020-08-102021-05-072021-05-212021-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101575
 Degree: -

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Title: Infant Behavior and Development
  Other : Infant Behav. Dev.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Norwood, N.J. : JAI
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 64 Sequence Number: 101575 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0163-6383
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925479567