Graphic symbols as "the mind on paper"

Links between children's interpretive theory of mind and symbol understanding

Lauren J. Myers, Lynn Susan Liben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Children gradually develop interpretive theory of mind (iToM)-the understanding that different people may interpret identical events or stimuli differently. The present study tested whether more advanced iToM underlies children's recognition that map symbols' meanings must be communicated to others when symbols are iconic (resemble their referents). Children (6-9years; N=80) made maps using either iconic or abstract symbols. After accounting for age, intelligence, vocabulary, and memory, iToM predicted children's success in communicating symbols' meaning to a naïve map-user when mapping tasks involved iconic (but not abstract) symbols. Findings suggest children's growing appreciation of alternative representations and of the intentional assignment of meaning, and support the contention that ToM progresses beyond mastery of false belief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-202
Number of pages17
JournalChild Development
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

Theory of Mind
symbol
Vocabulary
Intelligence
intelligence
vocabulary
stimulus
event

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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Graphic symbols as "the mind on paper" : Links between children's interpretive theory of mind and symbol understanding. / Myers, Lauren J.; Liben, Lynn Susan.

In: Child Development, Vol. 83, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 186-202.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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