Explaining the Relation between Early Mind-Mindedness and Children’s Mentalizing Abilities: Validating an Observational Preschool Assessment

Elizabeth Meins, Sarah Fishburn, Luna Munoz Centifanti , Fionnuala Larkin, Charles Fernyhough

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    Abstract

    The aim of this research was to investigate whether a new observation-based measure for assessing caregivers’ mind-mindedness in the preschool years could explain the link between mothers’ early appropriate mind-related comments and children’s later mentalizing abilities. The new measure was validated in a sample of mothers and 44-month-olds (N=170), characterizing mind-mindedness in terms of (a) solicited child involvement, (b) collaborative communication, and (c) internal state talk. These indices were positively related to established assessments of mind-mindedness at 8, 44, and 61 months. Positive associations were also observed with children’s later mentalizing abilities. The new measure of mind-mindedness did not, however, mediate the relation between mind-mindedness in the first year of life and children’s mentalizing abilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDevelopmental Psychology
    Publication statusSubmitted - Dec 2019

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