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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


ROAZZI, Antonio  and  SANTANA, Suely de Melo. Theory of mind and first- and second-order mental states. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.3, pp.437-445. ISSN 0102-7972.

This investigation aimed at studying the knowledge about the comprehension of first- and second-order mental states taking into account the influence of different linguistic expressions in the judgments produced by 113 children from low-socioeconomic background divided into four groups. Each group was controlled by gender and age (5- and 6-year-old) and took part in one of four conditions which involved two inanimate subjects (dolls) and answering a series of questions about mental and emotional states. Each condition consisted of four different verbal expressions involving first- and second-order types of questions: (C1) "search in the first place"; (C2) "search"; (C3) "think"; (C4) "hope to find". Analyses of the false belief questions revealed a main effect on age and type of question. The means of correct answers in the three types of false belief questions when compared indicated that the first-order false belief questions (37.80%) were easier than the two kinds of second-order type of questions (25.20% and 22.50%). These results are discussed in light of the previous results found in the literature, both concerning the influence of age, and the type of mental state and verbal expression involved.

Keywords : Theory of mind; linguistics expressions; first- and second-order mental states.

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