A Longitudinal Study of Children's Theory of Mind, Self-Concept, and Perceptions of Humor in Self and Other

By Bosacki, Sandra L. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, May 2013 | Go to article overview

A Longitudinal Study of Children's Theory of Mind, Self-Concept, and Perceptions of Humor in Self and Other


Bosacki, Sandra L., Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Evidence over the past decade suggests understanding of mind may grow from a foundation of understanding of emotions (Lagatutta & Wellman, 2002), and develops in part through social relationships (Hughes, 2011). Although theory of mind (ToM) development or the ability to understand thoughts and emotions in self and other is an active area of research (Hughes, 2011), empirical evidence from later childhood regarding the relationships between social understanding and perceptions of perceived self-worth remains sparse (Dunn, 2008). In addition, there remains a dearth of longitudinal studies regarding whether or not reasoning about self (intrapersonal) and other (interpersonal) are reciprocal and interdependent, or isolated and independent from each other over time during middle childhood. To address this gap in the literature, my main goal in this research was to investigate if links exist over time (two years), among children's ToM understanding, perceptions of self, and perceptions of humor in self and others.

Children's Understanding of Mind and Emotion

The development of the ability to represent and reason from second-order beliefs (two or more mental states) has received relatively little attention in the literature particularly during the transition from middle to late childhood, that is, 8-12 years of age (Carpendale & Lewis, 2004). This is surprising given that social communication depends mainly on what people believe about other people's beliefs (Hughes, 2011), and that researchers suggest that social-communicative abilities such as ToM and understanding humor develop throughout middle childhood (Filoppova & Astington, 2010). The importance of second-order or interpretive reasoning has been shown in relation to children's ability to understand language features such as lies, jokes, sarcasm, and irony (Leekam, 1993), and in their ability to understand self-representational display rules (Banerjee & Watling, 2007). Given that advanced or higher-order social reasoning may also help adolescents understand the ambiguous nature of personal and social silences (Bosacki, 2008), some researchers suggest such advanced reasoning is also fundamental to adolescents' understanding of self-conscious or sociomoral emotions (e.g., embarrassment, pride), their sense of self and other persons, and social interactions (Hughes, 2011).

Regarding the further development of ToM throughout childhood, recent evidence suggests that understanding of emotion also continues to develop during middle to late childhood (approximately during the ages of 8-12 years), particularly regarding the understanding of complex and ambiguous emotions (Saarni, 1999). In contrast to simple or basic emotions (e.g., happy, sad), to understand complex or sociomoral emotions (e.g., pride, embarrassment), children must hold in mind two separate pieces of information: other people's and societal norms (Harter, 1999). That is, adolescents must imagine what others think of their behavior and self-evaluate their behavior against internalized behavioral standards. Although complex emotion understanding hinges on cognitive abilities such as second-order sociomoral reasoning and self-evaluation, to date, the links between these concepts during middle to late childhood have not been investigated.

ToM and Self-perceptions in School Context

Although ToM and self-perceptions would seem to be foundational to children's educational experiences (Bruner, 1996), few researchers have studied the relationships between children's ToM understanding, self-perceptions, and school experiences beyond the age of 8 or 9 years either within their family or school context (Astington & Pelletier, 1997). Regarding academic competence and school success, associations have been found between ToM and the production of stories and general language ability (de Rosnay & Hughes, 2006; Dunn, 2008). Theory of mind understanding has also been claimed to facilitate children's ability to self-monitor and regulate their cognitive process and to engage in reflexive thinking (Lecce, Caputi, & Hughes, 2011).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Longitudinal Study of Children's Theory of Mind, Self-Concept, and Perceptions of Humor in Self and Other
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.