Theory of mind and pretense play : play behaviors in 4-year olds
Janes, Patricia K
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Theory of mind (TOM) appears to define the developmental shift of the social and cognitive processes evident in children between the ages of 3-5 years when interactions of children become more complex and integrative as manifested in pretense play. An observational study of 4-year old dyads playing in pretense was designed to explore the changing play patterns and behaviors of young children as a function of TOM ability. To obtain differences in children’s play interactions, dyads were videotaped free-playing with compatible play partners. From the videotapes, types of dyadic interactions and individual behaviors were measured. It was hypothesized that play interactions exhibited at both the dyadic and individual level will vary as a function of individual TOM scores. Results suggest that dyads with similar or differing TOM ability manifest different play profiles, and that individuals with high TOM ability exhibit more non-verbal signals of playing in pretense.