Matching Items (17)

Theory of Mind Development in Middle Childhood

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How do children understand how others see the world? I examined correlations between 4-8 year old children's understanding of beliefs and their understanding of other ways that people represent the

How do children understand how others see the world? I examined correlations between 4-8 year old children's understanding of beliefs and their understanding of other ways that people represent the world. Beliefs that I measured are understanding of pretense, understanding that things can have multiple identities, understanding that people can know things by inference, and understanding that people can look at the same thing and have different representations of it. I predicted that there would be correlations among these tasks. In particular, I predicted children would be able to understand these tasks when they understood true and false beliefs, based on current theories on belief understanding. I predicted that the classic false belief task alone would not be a good predictor of task performance, but that the combination of true and false belief tasks would. Participants were 100 children recruited at the Phoenix Children's Museum between ages 4 and 8. Previous research has found that children pass all of these tasks between the ages of 6 and 8, but no other studies have looked at the inter-correlations among them. Contrary to my prediction, children did not pass these tasks all at once, but scores went up gradually with age and belief understanding.

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  • 2016-12

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Do Young 2-Year-Olds Understand Object Permanence?

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Current research has consistently shown that children substantially younger than 2 years of age understand object permanence; i.e. infants have realistic expectations of where hidden objects should reappear, and they

Current research has consistently shown that children substantially younger than 2 years of age understand object permanence; i.e. infants have realistic expectations of where hidden objects should reappear, and they react with increased looking time to experimenter-manipulated violations of object permanence. However, new research has revealed that 2-year-olds' understanding of object permanence does not seem to transfer to active search tasks. Although infants look longer when an object moves behind a screen and is subsequently shown to have "magically" passed through a solid barrier, 2-year-olds do not search correctly for an object that has moved behind a panel of four doors and stopped at a barrier that is visible above the correct door. However, 2-year-olds do search flawlessly on a warm-up task in which the experimenter hides a stationary object behind one of the doors. Due to these conflicting results, I designed three search tasks to test whether the method of hiding the object affects young 2-year-olds' ability to successfully search. I used a simplified three-door apparatus with stationary objects in which children were allowed to search only one door per trial. In the Hide-3 search task, the experimenter opened a door, placed a toy in the doorway, and closed the door. In the Reveal-3 search task, all doors opened and closed simultaneously without the experimenter touching one door, and a toy was revealed already in place in a doorway. In the Reveal-2 search task, the experimenter hid the toy identically as in Reveal-3, except a hand puppet opened an incorrect door immediately after the toy was hidden, leaving two remaining doors for the child to search. If infants' and 2-year-olds' knowledge of a hidden object's location is activated in previous looking time experiments, then the puppet's incorrect search in Reveal-2 should facilitate their search performance relative to Reveal-3 by activating this knowledge. My results suggest that young 2-year-olds are not using knowledge of the hidden object's location to guide search. Instead, their performance is best explained by a utilization of alternate search strategies including imitation of the adult and salience differentials between search options. These results call into question a fundamental tenet of modern child psychology, that by 2 years of age children use their knowledge of object permanence to guide search under a variety of hiding and disappearance conditions.

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  • 2016-12

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Introspection and Certainty Training in Preschool Children

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This study assessed preschool children's (N= 52) ability to introspect and monitor their own levels of certainty. After a book reading intervention, children reported that they were less certain of

This study assessed preschool children's (N= 52) ability to introspect and monitor their own levels of certainty. After a book reading intervention, children reported that they were less certain of answer choices in a picture identification game. School differences showed that some groups of children reported improved levels of certainty monitoring, while other groups of children reported scores dissimilar to those predicted. This indicated that children who were immersed in rich learning environments, where strict curriculum and emotion understanding training were enforced, could be predisposed to this type of certainty understanding.

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  • 2018-12

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Does Non-Response Bias Compromise the External Validity of a Sample of College Students of Divorce?

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It is possible that voluntary studies on the effects of divorce fail to capture the perspectives of offspring who may be deterred from volunteering by their negative experiences of the

It is possible that voluntary studies on the effects of divorce fail to capture the perspectives of offspring who may be deterred from volunteering by their negative experiences of the divorce of their parents. This issue of non-response bias would cause researchers to gather unrepresentative samples that ultimately create an unrepresentative picture on the effects of divorce. The problem of non-response bias may also be a possible explanation for why research shows that small differences in psychological problems exist between children of divorce and children from intact families. This study sought to identify if non-response bias compromises the external validity of a sample of college students of divorce. To answer this question we conducted this study through the use of the introductory psychology pre screening study that is administered every semester to introductory psychology students at Arizona State University. We surveyed undergraduate introductory psychology students, all of whom completed a required prescreen survey for research credit. The students who indicated they were from divorced families, or whose parents were “never married and not still together”, were invited to participate in a follow up study to “to understand young adults’ perspectives on their parents’ divorce”. The students who responded to our invitation were compared to the students who did not volunteer in terms of their prescreen data. Volunteers did not differ from non-volunteers on seven out of the ten dependent measures. Volunteers differed from non-volunteers in terms of their closeness to their fathers, in terms of the parents conflict they experienced during the two years before and the two years after their parents permanently separated. Volunteers were more likely to be closer to their fathers and more likely to have experienced more parent conflict than non-volunteers. We are unaware of any studies on the subject of divorce that have had a similar opportunity to address the issue of non-response bias and its effects on the external validity of a college sample of divorce. This study should be replicated to determine the reliability of the results.

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  • 2020-05

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Testing for “Hyper Theory of Mind” in Autism: Honors Thesis

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In this thesis I will explore deficits in Theory of Mind (ToM) in autistic people due to new evidence that they do not completely lack a ToM. A new theory

In this thesis I will explore deficits in Theory of Mind (ToM) in autistic people due to new evidence that they do not completely lack a ToM. A new theory is proposed, claiming that autistic people use a Hyper Theory of Mind (HyperToM) which has some application and processing differences from typical ToM. The HyperToM test will be administered as an online questionnaire that includes a self-reported Autism Quotient (AQ) section. The study is done in low support needs autistic (LSA) adults, which should have a developed ToM due to age and ability. Results showed some correlations with the AQ symptoms and HyperToM, but not enough diagnosed autistic people (9) participated in this study for significant results.

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  • 2021-05

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Sum sed cogitone? Can children introspect their mental states?

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Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand

Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand our access to our mental states. Simulation theory (Harris, 1991) involves imagining yourself in another person’s situation, reading off of your mental state, and attributing that state to the other person. Theory-theory (Gopnik, 1993) involves an interrelated body of knowledge, based on core mental-state constructs, including beliefs and desires, that may be applied to everyone—self and others (Gopnik & Wellman, 1994). Introspection is taken for granted by simulation theory, and explicitly denied by theory-theory. This study is designed to test for evidence of introspection in young children using simple perception and knowledge task. The current evidence is against introspective awareness in children because the data suggest that children cannot report their own false beliefs and they cannot report their on-going thoughts (Flavell, Green & Flavell, 1993; Gopnik & Astington, 1988). The hypothesis in this study states that children will perform better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks, which will be evidence for introspection. The Other-Perception tasks require children to calculate the other’s line of sight and determine if there is something obscuring his or her vision. The Other-Knowledge tasks require children to reason that the other’s previous looking inside a box means that he or she will know what is inside the box when it is closed. The corresponding Self tasks could be answered either by using the same reasoning for the self or by introspection to determine what it is they see and do not see, and know and do not know. Children performing better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks will be an indication of introspection. Tests included Yes/No and Forced Choice questions, which was initially to ensure that the results will not be caused by a feature of a single method of questioning. I realized belatedly, however, that Forced Choice was not a valid measure of introspection as children could introspect in both the Self and Other conditions. I also expect to replicate previous findings that reasoning about Perception is easier for children than reasoning about Knowledge.

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  • 2013-12

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Lack of Construct Validity in Traditional False Belief Tasks

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Two tasks have been predominantly used over the past thirty years to measure false belief understanding: the Location Task and the Typical Box task. These tasks have produced robust findings

Two tasks have been predominantly used over the past thirty years to measure false belief understanding: the Location Task and the Typical Box task. These tasks have produced robust findings that children fail false belief tasks at age 3 and pass false belief tasks at age 4. Recent theory, however, points out a shared confound in the 2-option Location and Typical Box tasks. This confound would allow children to perform successfully on the standard false belief tasks without understanding belief. Instead, children might be using perceptual access reasoning and reason that ignorant agents will "get it wrong" and be incorrect about reality. Modified 3-option tasks were used to address this confound by introducing a third, irrelevant option to the 2-option tasks. According to PAR, children who pass 2-option tasks should perform worse on the 3-option tasks because there are two "wrong" answers. We argue that subtle differences in salience between the false belief and irrelevant options in combination with one open-ended test question can draw children who use PAR toward one or the other in unpredictable ways. To demonstrate that other procedures will give more salience to the irrelevant options several studies are needed, each with minor variations in procedure that do not alter the basic false belief structure. Thus in five studies we varied superficial characteristics across tasks in order to test for a task effect across studies. We used the "continuously cumulating meta-analysis" (CCMA) approach, combining each replication study into a broader analysis (final N=113) for higher power. Our CCMA analyses provide strong support for the PAR hypothesis because 1) children performed worse on the 3-option tasks than the 2-option tasks, 2) children's proportion of false belief responses out of non-reality responses did not replicate across studies, 3) children's proportion of reality responses replicated across studies, and 4) the Location task was easier than the Box tasks across studies. These findings suggest that there is a lack of construct validity in traditional false belief tasks; thus, new methods of testing for false belief understanding are needed to determine at what point children acquire Theory of Mind.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Shared Parenting: From Practice to Policy

Description

This study examines how a 2013 Arizona law on shared parenting would affect living arrangements, and thus mental health measures. There were two hypotheses. According to the Law Change Hypothesis,

This study examines how a 2013 Arizona law on shared parenting would affect living arrangements, and thus mental health measures. There were two hypotheses. According to the Law Change Hypothesis, it was hypothesized that parenting time in Arizona would be more equal following the 2013 Arizona law change while there would be no change in parenting time in other states following the 2013 Arizona law change. It was further hypothesized that child mental health would be better after the law change in Arizona with no change being seen in other states. Results of this study were almost completely inconsistent with the hypothesis. According to the Law Reflect Hypothesis, the law is actually reflecting the behavior of the community and their thoughts on equal parenting time becoming more favorable, and therefore a change towards more equal parenting time would be found prior to 2013 in Arizona with no change seen in other states. Furthermore, as the Arizona community’s behavior changed, child mental health would be better with no change being seen in other states. Regressions found that a small change toward more equal parenting and closeness with father was prior to 2013 for Arizona students, compared to out-of-state students, although it did not find that the year of divorce resulted in less anxiety, stress, and depression. This partially agrees with past research that the 2013 law is working as intended, even if it started working earlier than we thought. This does not agree with previous research stating there is a connection between equal parenting and better mental health. This is important because this study questions the efficacy of an important and controversial policy. If future studies are consistent with this one, the effectiveness of the Arizona 2013 law change on mental health will need to be further evaluated.

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  • 2021-05

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Moral Intuitions About Fault, Parenting, and Child Custody After Divorce

Description

Allocations of child custody postdivorce are currently determined according to the best interest standard; that is, what is best for the child. Decisions about what is best for a child

Allocations of child custody postdivorce are currently determined according to the best interest standard; that is, what is best for the child. Decisions about what is best for a child necessarily reflect cultural norms, at least in part. It is therefore useful as well as interesting to ask whether current understandings of the best interest standard align with moral intuitions of lay citizens asked to take the role of judge in hypothetical cases. Do factors such as whether 1 parent had an extramarital affair influence how respondents would award custody? In the current studies, a representative sample of citizens awaiting jury service was first given a neutral scenario portraying an “average” family. Almost 80% favored dividing custodial time equally between the 2 parents, replicating earlier findings. Then, in Study 1, they were given a second, test case, vignette in which either the mother or the father was said to have carried on an extramarital affair that “essentially ruined the marriage.” In Study 2, either the mother or the father was said to have sought the divorce, opposed by the other, simply because he or she “grew tired” of the marriage. For both test cases, our respondents awarded the offending parent significantly less parenting time; about half of our respondents in each Study. The findings indicate that many citizens feel both having an affair and growing tired of the marriage is sufficient cause to award decreased parenting time, reasons for which are explored in the discussion.

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Date Created
  • 2014-08-01

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He Said What? Guided Cognitive Reframing About the Co-Resident Father/Stepfather-Adolescent Relationship

Description

We studied young adolescents' seeking out support to understand conflict with their co-resident fathers/stepfathers, and the cognitive and affective implications of such support-seeking, phenomena we call guided cognitive reframing. Our

We studied young adolescents' seeking out support to understand conflict with their co-resident fathers/stepfathers, and the cognitive and affective implications of such support-seeking, phenomena we call guided cognitive reframing. Our sample included 392 adolescents (M[subscript age] = 12.5, 52.3% female) who were either of Mexican or European ancestry and lived with their biological mothers and either a stepfather or a biological father. More frequent reframing was associated with more adaptive cognitive explanations for father/stepfather behavior. Cognitions explained the link between seeking out and feelings about the father/stepfather and self. Feelings about the self were more strongly linked to depressive symptoms than cognitions. We discuss the implications for future research on social support, coping, guided cognitive reframing, and father–child relationships.

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Date Created
  • 2015-06-01