Developing organization of mental verbs: Evidence for the development of a constructivist theory of mind in middle childhood

Paula J. Schwanenflugel, William V. Fabricius, Caroline R. Noyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments examined the development of a theory of mind in middle childhood by examining changes in the organization of mental verbs of knowing. In both experiments, children and adults rated the similarity of pairs of mental verbs in terms of the way they felt they used their mind in each one. Experiment 1 used thirty-six 8- and thirty-four 10-year-olds, and 27 adults. In Experiment 2, 9- and 11-year-old children were classified according to their cognitive monitoring ability (Markman, 1981). Fifteen cognitive monitoring and 15 nonmonitoring children were used, and 33 adults also participated. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) analyses of each group's ratings indicated that participants distinguished mental verbs according to the certainty aspects and information processing aspects of mental activity. Older children and comprehension monitors placed greater emphasis on the certainty aspects of mental activity than younger children and comprehension nonmonitors. It is concluded that important aspects of a constructivist theory of mind develop during middle childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-294
Number of pages30
JournalCognitive Development
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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