Chapter 5 Results and Discussion

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1 Chapter 5

2 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The present study aims at investigating the development ToM with special reference to Mental State Reasoning (MSR), Social Reasoning (SR) and Emotional Reasoning (ER) in children from 4 to 16 years of age. There are three categories of age groups consisting of early childhood (4 years to 6 years), middle childhood (9 years to 11 years) and late childhood (14 years to 16 years). Other major goals of the present study are to examine the interrelationship among mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning across the ages, and finally to examine the relationship of lateralization with development of ToM as reflected in the understanding of mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. The false belief task assesses mental state reasoning. Social reasoning involves decoding deception, lie, white lie, misunderstanding, sarcasm, contrary emotion, persuasion, joke, figure of speech, double-bluff and appearancereality etc. in social interaction scenarios. Emotional reasoning involves recognition of expression of five basic emotions like happy, anger, fear, sad and surprise and antecedents of experience of emotion in self and parents, conceptual role taking, empathetic sensitivity and recognizing emotion expressions in the eyes. In the beginning of the study, there was an effort to equate the tasks used to assess mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning across all age groups. From the analysis of the pilot testing and given the differential developmental milestones achieved by different age groups, the assessment tools used for them could not be equated. However, an attempt is made to keep the underlying construct of the tasks constant across all ages. The choice to report the results and discussions separately for the three groups of children hence seem more pragmatic in view of 83

3 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization comprehension and ease of interpretation of the findings. Keeping these facts in mind, the present chapter is broadly divided into four sections. Each section deals with the developmental trends for a particular age group of children. Accordingly, the first section will focus on the overall development during 4-16 years of age; the second section will focus on the overall development during 4-6 years of age (early childhood); the third section will focus on the development during 9-11 years of age (middle childhood); and the fourth section will focus on the development during years of age (late childhood). The higher mean scores in all the analyses indicate better performance of children on those measures. 5.1 Overall Developmental Trend (4-16 Years) on ToM Measures Prior to analyzing the group specific results for early, middle and late childhood, an overall analysis of the developmental trend was called for. Since the tasks are not equal despite their underlying constructs being same, the obtained raw scores are then converted into Z scores for the purpose of comparison across the measures of mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. From the mean Table (see Table 2), the higher mean scores and from the figures (see figures 1, 2 and 3), the overall developmental pattern shows an increasing trend in understanding mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning across ages. However, there is a slight drop in the performance of 16 year olds in MSR and SR measures of ToM. Emotional reasoning however, maintain a steady developmental pattern as seen in figure 3. Further, one way ANOVAs with Z conversion scores show significant differences in the development of understanding of all three components of ToM. These evidences clearly show that significant development of understanding in ToM is happening during 4 to 16 years of age (see Table 3). The results also confirm that development of understanding ToM is still happening by the time children reach 16 years of age as it has not reached the ceiling on any of the ToM measures. The hypothesis that ToM development is continuous hence gains support from this 84

4 finding. This further suggests that going beyond the preschool years may provide some more evidences on the nature of the development of ToM for its possible theoretical and practical implications. Past researches in this area have largely focused on children s understanding of ToM during early childhood. The present study is an improvement over earlier studies in terms of the inclusion of a wide range of age groups. Table 2. Summary of Mean and SD of Scores on MSR, SR and ER as a function of Age (With Z Conversion) from 4 to 16 Years ToM Measures Mental State Reasoning Social Reasoning Emotional Reasoning Age Groups Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD 4 Years (n=20) Early Childhood 5Years (n=20) Years (n=20) Years (n=18) Middle Childhood 10Years (n=28) Years (n=14) Years (n=32) Late Childhood 15Years (n=16) Years (n=12) Total (N=180) As described in chapter 2, theory of mind consists of a set of reasoning we use in our day- to- day life. Hence, it is expected that mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning would be highly correlated. Pearson product-moment correlation (see Table 4) indicates a highly significant and positive correlation among mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. This supports the hypothesis that all the measures of ToM have same come from the same domain. These results are also expected to be observed for all the developmental groups i.e., for the early middle and late childhood groups. 85

5 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Table 3. Summary of One-Way ANOVA on Overall Performance on ToM Measures (with Z Conversion) ToM Measures Types of Task SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Between Groups Mental State Reasoning Within Groups Total Between Groups Social Reasoning Within Groups Total Between Groups Emotional Reasoning Within Groups Total Table 4. Overall Correlations among ToM Measures (with Z Conversion) ToM Measures MSR SR ER Mental State Reasoning (MSR) **.604** Social Reasoning (SR) ** Emotional Reasoning (ER) 1.00 ** Correlation significant at 0.01 level 86

6 Figure 1. Mean Mental State Reasoning (with Z conversion) as a function of age in years Figure 2. Mean Social Reasoning (with Z conversion) as a function of age in years 87

7 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Figure 3. Mean Emotional Reasoning (with Z conversion) as a function of age in years There are also some irregularities in the means graph for mental state reasoning and social reasoning for the middle and late childhood groups (see figures 1 and 2). Especially a decrease in performance by 16 years might be of interest. Again, given the developmental milestones achieved by early, middle and late childhood groups, can it be expected that each individual group to show a clear trend? How cerebral lateralization would help explain ToM? These issues and questions led to further analysis of the specific tasks used in the study for these three groups of children. The sections that follow describe the group and task specific results. 5.2 Development during Early Childhood (4-6) Years Mental State Reasoning in Early Childhood As discussed in chapter 2, false belief understanding is taken as one of the measures of mental state reasoning. The development of the understanding of first-order false belief in early childhood is discussed in this section. Two of 88

8 the first-order false belief tasks used for the 4-6 year olds are the unknown content and the unknown location task. The mean scores and standard deviations for the tasks are given in Table 5. Table 5. Summary of Mean and SD of Scores on MSR, SR and ER as a function of Age among Early Childhood Group (N=60) ToM Measures Types of Task Age Groups 4 Years (n= 20) 5 Years (n= 20) 6 Years (n= 20) M SD M SD M SD Mental State Reasoning Social Reasoning Emotional Reasoning Unknown Content Unknown Location Deception Emoticons Self Parents The mean scores of unknown content and unknown location tasks (Table 5) show a developmental advantage for age. A simple 3 (Age) X 2 (FB) mixed between-within subjects factorial ANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor (Table 6) show non-significant main effects for age, F (2, 57) =2.96, p<0.06, partial n 2 = 0.09 and FB (False Belief), F (1, 57) = 1.96, p<0.16, partial n 2 = The interaction effect F (2, 57) = 0.12, p<0.87, partial n 2 = 0.00 is also non-significant. Table 6. Summary of simple 3 (Age) X 2 (FB) mixed between-within subjects factorial ANOVA on scores of Mental State Reasoning in Early Childhood Source SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Age FB Age X FB Error

9 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization The non-significant main effects and the interaction effect does not necessarily suggest that there is no development happening during this period. With the increase in the mean performance score with age (see Table 5) on the first-order false belief understanding by early childhood group hence, call for further analysis. Since the scoring of MSR is based on the answers given by the children for the justification questions, an analysis of justification questions seem reasonable here. Based on the justifications given by children for mental state reasoning, five categories of justifications have emerged. Examples of the sample verbatim are given below (Box 1 and Box 2). Box 1. Sample Justification Verbatim for First-order False Belief (Unknown Content) by Early Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Kyunki matches ke andar toh tilli rehti hai (because matches contain matchsticks) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Wo aise hi bolega-(he will say like this) (kyun-why?) mere ko pata nahi-(i don t know) 3. Elaborate non-mental state Kyunki yeh matches ka hi dibba hai aur aise har dibbe ke andar matches hota hai-(because this is matchbox and in every match box there are matchsticks) 4. Non-elaborate mental state Kyunki use nahi pata aapne iske andar coin dala hai- (because he dosen t know you have put coin inside it) 5. Elaborate mental state Kyunki yeh toh matches ka dabba hi hai toh phir usko lagega matches hai-(because this is matchbox, so he would believe that there is matchstick inside it) Box 2. Sample Justification Verbatim for First-order False Belief (Unknown Location) by Early Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Kyunki use paise ki chizen kharidna hoga, isliye-(because he may buy something) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Kyunki usne usi mein rakh ke gayi thi-(because she has put it inside the box) 3. Elaborate non-mental state Kyunki wo toh school mein tha, aur uske mummy pink wali kholegi aur blue wale mein rakh ke band karegi bas- (because he was in school, and her mother will open the pink box and put it into the blue box and closes it) 4. Non-elaborate mental state Kyunki usne dekha nahi hai khol ke isme hai ya nahi hai- (because he has not seen what was inside it) 5. Elaborate mental state Isliye soch raha hai wo, mein toh pink wale mein rakh gaya tha-(he thinks like this because he has put it in the pink box) 90

10 For each type of justification a score is given. The score ranges from 0 to 5. An irrelevant justification is given a score of 0, a non-elaborate nonmental state justification is given a score of 1, an elaborate non-mental state justification is given a score of 2, a non-elaborate mental state justification is given a score of 3 and an elaborate mental state justification is given a score of Percentages IR NENMS ENMS NEMS EMS 4 Years Years Years Categories of Justification by Age Figure 4. Percentage of Categories of Justification for First-order False Belief by Early Childhood Group N.B. IR Irrelevant, NENMS Non-Elaborate Non-Mental State, ENMS Elaborate Non-Mental State, NEMS Non-Elaborate Mental State, EMS Elaborate Mental State From Figure 4 it is evident that with age, irrelevant justifications decrease and non-elaborate non-mental state justifications increase. Other categories of justification do not show any trend. This suggests that though children s mental state reasoning (first-order false belief) increases with age, it does not reach the ceiling by six years of age. Hence, going beyond the early childhood years to understand the development of mental state reasoning seem reasonable here. Development of mental state reasoning in middle and late childhood years are discussed in sections 5.3 and 5.4 of the present chapter. 91

11 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Social Reasoning in Early Childhood Children in the 4-6 years group (early childhood) saw two animated films from ThePanchatantra. They are Bandar ka Bantawara (The Monkey s Judgment) and Chalak Lomdi (The Clever Fox). In each story, one of the protagonists was engaged in an act of deliberate deception. After viewing each film, the child was asked two memory based questions to check if s/he understood the story. This was followed by questions on the understanding of deceptive acts played by one of the protagonists in the story. Table 7. Summary of One Way ANOVA and Post-Hoc Comparison (Tukey s HSD) on the Scores of Social Reasoning (Deception) in Early Childhood Source SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Between Groups Within Groups Total Post-Hoc Comparison ( Tukey s HSD) Age Difference 4 Years vs. 5 Years Years vs. 6 Years 2.15* 5 Years vs. 6 Years 1.45* *The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level One way ANOVA results reveal that age significantly affect the understanding of deception in children (F (2, 57) = 10.74, p<0.05], n 2 = 0.27) (Table 7). The mean scores and standard deviations (Table 5) for social reasoning task-a (Deception) show an increasing trend with age. Results from Tukey s HSD pairwise comparisons indicate a significant difference between 6 year olds understanding of deception and that of 4 year olds and 5 year olds (both p<0.05). In other words, the understanding of deception of 6 year olds characteristically varies from that of 4 and 5 year olds. The performance of 4 and 5 year olds however remain same. This finding confirms a developmental 92

12 advantage for children during early childhood years in their understanding of deception Emotional Reasoning in Early Childhood Development of an understanding of emotions in children during 4-6 years of age is answered by three types of tasks i.e., (i) understanding of emotional expression in emoticons, (ii) antecedents of experience of emotion in self and (iii) antecedents of experience of emotion in parents. The emotions considered are happy, anger, fear, sad and surprise. Table 8. Summary of One Way ANOVA on the Scores of Emotional Reasoning in Early Childhood Emotional Reasoning Understanding Expression in Emoticons Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents Source SS df MS F Sig n 2 p Between Groups Within Groups Total Between Groups Within Groups Total Between Groups Within Groups Total The mean scores show an increasing trend of understanding emotions in the early childhood group (Table 5). However, the mean difference is not statistically significant for Understanding Expression in Emoticons (F (2, 57) = 2.23, p<0.11, partial n 2 = 0.07), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self (F (2, 57) = 2.46, p<0.09, partial n 2 = 0.08), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents (F (2, 57) = 2.21, p<0.80, partial n 2 = 0.00) (Table 8). This signifies a developmental invariance with respect to the emotional development during the early childhood years. 93

13 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization This section supports the hypothesis that the development is continuous during early childhood years. Though the differences are not significant except for deception, that does not necessarily mean development is not happening in other areas of functioning. Whatever developmental changes observed during these years cannot only be attributable to age. Age is only one developmental marker. There may be many other factors affecting the development during early childhood years that could not be explored in the present study Interrelationship among ToM Measures during Early Childhood One of the objectives of the present study is also to examine the relationship among mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. As conceptualized in chapter 2, theory of mind constitutes an understanding of MSR, SR and ER, it is important then, to note the interrelationships among them. Pearson product-moment correlation indicates a significant correlation among all the measures (Table 9). Table 9. Correlations among ToM Measures in Early Childhood ToM Measures MSR SR ER Mental State Reasoning (MSR) **.389** Social Reasoning (SR) ** Emotional Reasoning (ER) 1.00 The high significant correlations among the ToM measures in the early childhood period suggests that understanding false belief, deception and understanding emotional expressions in emoticons, antecedents of expression of emotion in self and antecedents of expression of emotion in parents all might be sharing a common domain. This is of particular interest to the modularity theory of mind as discussed in chapter 2, which suggests that a module in the brain is responsible for theory of mind understanding. The 94

14 reason why we see the same areas in brain are activated frequently on some of the measures of ToM also supports this finding Cerebral Lateralization and ToM in Early Childhood Cerebral lateralization is one of the neuropsychological markers of development. The extent of lateralization is expressed in laterality quotient (LQ) units. Two types of analysis are carried out with this variable. First, by controlling the variable and second, by categorizing the variable. For the first type of analysis, after adjusting for LQ, no significant effect of age on children s performance is observed for Unknown Content Task (F (2, 56) = 2.24, p<0.11, partial n 2 = 0.07), and Unknown Location Task, (F (2, 56) = 1.41, p<0.25, partial n 2 = 0.04). However, in the deception task a significant effect of age (F (2, 56) =10.49, p< 0.00, partial n 2 = 0.27) is observed. Adjusted mean scores suggest that even after controlling for the effect of LQ, 6 year olds performance is significantly better than that of 4 and 5 year olds children. Thus, it can be concluded that age plays a major role in children s understanding of deception. On emotional reasoning, after adjusting for LQ, no significant effect of age on Understanding Expression in Emoticons, (F (2, 56) = 2.16, p<.12, partial n 2 = 0.07), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self, (F (2, 56) = 2.38, p<0.10, partial n 2 = 0.07), and Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents, (F (2, 56) = 0.20, p<0.81, partial n 2 = 0.00) is observed. In the second type of analysis, an experimental manipulation based on laterality scores resulted in two types of categories based on laterality quotient (LQ). The categories are (i) extreme non-right bias and (ii) extreme right bias groups. LQ scores falling within the range of to 0.40 forms the extreme non-right bias group and scores falling within the range of 0.40 to 1.00 form the right bias group. First, the extreme non-right bias children are identified. In the early childhood group six extreme non-right bias children are identified. Then, for the purpose of comparison, an equal number of age equivalent extreme right bias children are selected. In order to examine whether any differences 95

15 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization exist in their performance on mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning, an independent t test is calculated. Results reveal no difference between the extreme non-right bias (M=3.83, SD=3.37) group and the extreme right bias group (M=4.66, SD=2.50), t (10) = 0.48, p=0.31, onetailed) on their mental state reasoning. Similarly, on social reasoning, the extreme non-right bias (M=7.50, SD=2.34) group does not differ from the extreme right bias group (M=6.83, SD=2.56), t (10) = 0.47, p=0.32, one-tailed) and the extreme non-right bias (M=15.13, SD=4.11) group also does not differ from the extreme right bias group (M=19.00, SD=3.40), t (10) = 1.45, p=0.08, one-tailed), on emotional reasoning. To sum up, it can be said lateralization plays a little role during early childhood in children s understanding of theory of mind. This finding is in opposition to the hypothesis. Such a result could be attributed to an incomplete lateralization of the functions by early childhood. In other words, during early childhood the process of lateralization may not have developed a strong functional bias for any of the hemispheres. The major findings from this section are summarized as follows: (1) Development of false belief understanding continues even after 6 years of age. (2) Six year olds understanding of deception is significantly better in comparison to 4 year olds. (3) High correlations among mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning in the early childhood group supports modularity hypothesis of theory of mind. (4) Laterality plays a little role in theory of mind understanding during early childhood years. 5.3 Development during Middle Childhood (9-11) Years Mental State Reasoning in Middle Childhood Discussions in the previous section suggest that first-order false belief understanding continues to develop beyond 6 years of age. Hence, there is a 96

16 need to investigate (i) the age at which first-order false belief understanding achieves a ceiling effect and (ii) the development of higher-order false belief understanding. In the present section, children in the age group of 9-11 years are assessed on their understanding of first-, second- and third-order false belief. Two stories ( The Chocolate Story and The Ice Cream Story ) are used for this purpose. The complete stories with associated questions are given in the appendix. The mean scores and standard deviations for the tasks are presented in Table 10. Table 10. Summary of Mean and SD of Scores on MSR, SR and ER as a Function of Age among Middle Childhood Group (N=60) ToM Measures Types of Task 9 Years (n=18) Age Groups 10 Years (n=28) 11 Years (n=14) M SD M SD M SD Mental State Reasoning First -Order False Belief Second-Order False Belief Third-Order False Belief Lie White Lie Misunderstanding Sarcasm Social Reasoning Persuasion Contrary Emotion Joke Figure of Speech Double-Bluff Appearance-Reality Emotional Reasoning Emotion in Emoticons Emotion in Self Emotional in Parents

17 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization From the descriptive statistics (Table 10), a significant developmental trend is observed only in second-order false belief task, but not in first- and third-order false belief task. A simple 3 (Age) X 3(FB) mixed between-within subjects factorial ANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor (Table 7) reveals a significant main effect for false belief(f (2, 114) = , p<.01, partial n 2 = 0.74). However, the main effect of age (F (2, 114) = 0.90 p<0.40, partial n 2 = 0.03) and the interaction effect (F (4, 114) = 0.98, p<0.41, partial n 2 = 0.03) are not significant. Pairwise or simple comparison using Bonferroni correction to maintain an alpha level of.05 reveals that thirdorder false belief understanding is poorer than first- and second-order false belief understanding during middle childhood. Performance first- and second-order false belief understanding however remains same during middle childhood years. This developmental invariance on first- and secondorder false belief in the group hence prompted to go for the analysis of the justifications. Table 11. Summary of simple 3 (Age) X 3 (FB) mixed between-within subjects factorial ANOVA on scores of Mental State Reasoning in Middle Childhood Source SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Age FB Age X FB Error Analysis of the categories of justification follow the same method as described in section resulting in five categories of justifications. However, this section differs from section in the sense that, here first-, second- and third-order false belief understanding is examined with two different stories ( Chocolate Story and Ice cream Story ) as described in chapter 4. The sample verbatim for five types of justifications for both the stories is presented in box

18 Box 3. Sample Justification Verbatim for First-order False Belief (Chocolate Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Kyunki Seema use dekh na paye-(so that Seema can t see it) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Kyunki usne almari mein rakha tha- (because he has put it inside the cupboard) 3. Elaborate non-mental state No response is observed for this category 4. Non-elaborate mental state Raj isliye soch raha hai ki use lagta hai ki kisine dekha nahi use rakhte hue-(raj thinks like this because he believes that no one had seen him putting the box inside the cupboard) 5. Elaborate mental state Kyunki use pata nahi hai ki Seema ne chocolate ka dibba table ke drawer mein rakha kyunki wo bahar gaya hua tha- (because he doesn t know that Seema has put inside the drawer because he was outside) Box 4. Sample Justification Verbatim for Second-order False Belief (Chocolate Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification 1.Irrelevant 2.Non-elaborate non-mental state 3.Elaborate non-mental state 4.Non-elaborate mental state 5.Elaborate mental state Verbatim Kyunki usne dono ko dekh liya tha-(because he has seen both of them) Kyunki usne wahan rakha tha-(because ha had put it there) No response is observed for this category Kyunki Seema ko nahi pata tha ki Raj ne dekh liya usko- (because Seema does not know that Raj has seen her) Seema isliye soch rahi hai ki Raj ko pata nahi tha ki Seema ne nikal diya, toh isliye Seema yeh soch rahi hai ki Raj ko nahi pata hai ki chocolate ka dibba Almari mein nahi table drawer mein hain- (Seema thinks like this because Raj does not know that the chocolate box is in table drawer and not in the cupboard) 99

19 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Box 5. Sample Justification Verbatim for Third-order False Belief (Chocolate Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Kyunki usne sab kuch dekh liya tha-(because he has seen everything) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Kyunki Raj ne usko rakha tha-because Raj had put it there (kahan?) (where?) Almari mein, toh usne dekh bhi liya tha- (inside the cupboard, so she had seen it) (Kisne?)(-who?) Sunny aur Raj dono ne ki woh nikal ke Almari se Seema table drawer mein rakh rahi hai-(both Sunny and Raj when Seema took the box from the cupboard and put it inside the drawer) 3. Elaborate non-mental state No response is observed for this category 4. Non-elaborate mental state Kyunki Seema ko ye lag raha hai ki Raj ne use nahi dekha- (because Seema believes that Raj has not seen her) 5. Elaborate mental state Kyunki Seema ko ye nahi pata ki Raj use piche se dekh raha hai, usko lag rahi hai ki Raj soch raha hoga ki uska dibba almari mein hai-(because Seema does not know that Raj was watching her from behind, so Raj would be thinking that the box is inside the cupboard) Box 6. Sample Justification Verbatim for First-order False Belief (Ice Cream Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Kyunki usko ice cream khana hai-(because he wants to have ice cream) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Kyunki wo paise lene apni ghar gayi thi-(because she had gone home for money) 3. Elaborate non-mental state Kyunki, jab wo niche aayi hi nahi thi, jab wo paise lene gayi thi, utne mein hi wo.. Jo ice cream wala hai, wo chala gaya tha-(because when she had been to her home for money, by then the icecream seller had left that place) 4. Non-elaborate mental state Kyunki ice cream wale ne Sandhya ko kaha tha ki mein sham tak yahi rukunga-(because icecream seller had told Sandhy that he will be there till evening) 5. Elaborate mental state Kyunki Sandhya ne puchha tha ki aap sham tak rahoge, toh isliye woh paise lene chaligayi, toh isliye Sandhya soch rahi hai ke ice cream wala park mein hoga-(because Sandhya had asked her earlier, so she was thinking that the icecream seller would still be there) 100

20 Box 7. Sample Justification Verbatim for Second-order False Belief (Ice Cream Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification Verbatim 1. Irrelevant Jab ice cream wala ja raha tha toh usne pucha ki tum kahan ja rahe ho, toh usne bataya ki school ke paas ja raha hai isliye-(because when the icecream seller was about to leave, he asked him where he is going and the icecream seller told him that he is going to school) 2. Non-elaborate non-mental state Kyunki wo pehle bhi wahin par tha-(because he was there earlier) 3. Elaborate non-mental state Kyunki jab wo uske ghar mein gaya tha tab wo ghar mein nahi thi, ghar se nikal gayi thi paise leke, tabhi-(because when he had been to her home, she had already left her home with money) 4. Non-elaborate mental state Kyunki Chetan ko pata nahi tha ki ice cream wale uske ghar jake bata ke aa gaya tha-(because Chetan did not know that, icecream seller had told her beforehand) 5. Elaborate mental state Chetan isliye soch raha hai kyunki use pata nahi hai ice cream wale ne Sandhya ko uske ghar ja kar bataya hai ki wo school ja raha hai-(chetan thinks like this because he does not know that icecream seller had been to Sandhy s home to tell her that he is going to school) Box 8 Sample Justification Verbatim for Third-order False Belief (Ice Cream Story) by Middle Childhood Group Categories of Justification 1.Irrelevant 2.Non-elaborate non-mental state 3.Elaborate non-mental state 4.Non-elaborate mental state 5.Elaborate mental state Verbatim Kyunki usne unhe bata diya tha-(because he has already told him) no response is observed for this category no response is observed for this category Kyunki Jab ice cream wala ja raha tha toh tab Chetan ko laga ki Sandhya ko nahi pata ki ice cream wala school gaya hua hai-(because icecream seller was going, so Chetan believes that Sandhya doesn t know that Ice cream seller has left for the school) Ice cream wale isliye soch raha hai ki usko usne toh dekh liya tha Chetan ne, ice cream wale ko park se nikalte hue school mein jate hue. Phir Chetan soch raha tha ki Sandhya ko toh pata nahi hoga woh school ke paas gaya hai, isliye toh woh batane chala gaya Sandhya ko, par Sandhya wahan se bahar nikal chuki thi- (icecream seller thinks like this this because Chetan had seen him going to school. Then Chetan thought that Sandhya would not have known that ice cream seller had already left the park, so he went to inform Sandhya about this but, by then Sandhya had left her home) 101

21 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization The scoring for the types of justifications are the same as described in section For making the justification categories comprehensive, the types of categories in both the stories are merged together. Then, the averages of the percentages for each category of justification are calculated. Figures 2, 3 and 4 depict the percentage of responses in each category of justifications given by the middle childhood group (9-11 Years). 80 Percentages IR NENMS ENMS NEMS EMS 9 Years Years Years Categories of Justification by Age Figure 5. Percentage of Categories of Justification for First-order False Belief by Middle Childhood Group 80 Percentages IR NENMS ENMS NEMS EMS 9 Years Years Years Categories of Justification by Age Figure 6. Percentage of Categories of Justification for Second-order False Belief by Middle Childhood Group 102

22 Percentages IR NENMS ENMS NEMS EMS 9 Years Years Years Categories of Justification by Age Figure 7. Percentage of Categories of Justification for Third-order False Belief by Middle Childhood Group N.B. IR Irrelevant, NENMS Non-Elaborate Non-Mental State, ENMS Elaborate Non-Mental State, NEMS Non-Elaborate Mental State, EMS Elaborate Mental State From the figures 5 and 6 it is clear that two types of justifications i.e., irrelevant justification and non-elaborate mental state justification show a trend for first and second order false belief task. While the irrelevant justifications are reducing, the non-elaborate mental state justifications are increasing. This may be a sign of increased understanding of higher order false belief among middle childhood group. Again, irrelevant justifications become non-existent by 11 years. Similarly, a decreased trend of irrelevant justification is also observed for second-order false belief understanding. These results suggest that, the clarity in the representational nature of the false belief task is gradually mastered by 11 years of age. However, for the third- order justification types, the irrelevant justifications have risen above 80 percent. For the non-elaborate mental state justification though there is an increasing trend, other types of justification types does not show any trend. This suggests that for the middle childhood group, third-order false belief understanding or higher representational nature of false belief task 103

23 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization poses a challenge to comprehend. To summarize up to this point, though there is a developmental trend in understanding first- and second-order false belief among middle childhood group, they are yet to master thirdorder false belief understanding. In other words, children during their middle childhood years may have a poor understanding of third-order false belief Social Reasoning in Middle Childhood Children s performance in social reasoning task is reported in this section. Social reasoning task include several scenarios in the form of short stories adapted from Happe s Strange Stories Task (Happe, 1994). The stories comprise contextually embedded simple accounts of events related to the various motivations underlying everyday utterances that differ from what they literally mean. The task for the child is to distinguish between the literal and the intended meaning of the utterances. This particular task is given to both middle and late childhood groups of children. The mean scores (see table 10 ) on social reasoning task show a steady improvement on all the scenarios with age except for lie and white lie scenarios. There is a drop in the mean scores in 11 year olds. From behavioral observation, it is revealed that 11 year olds have taken these scenarios as obvious scenarios and do not provide any elaborate justifications for the questions. This might have affected their scoring. One way ANOVA results reveal that children in the middle childhood group answered the comprehension question ( Is it true? ) essentially in a correct way in all social situations. However, the differences in their explanations significantly vary in the scenarios involving the utterances of misunderstanding, contrary emotion, joke and appearance-reality on the social reasoning task (Table 12 & 13). 104

24 Table 12. Summary of One Way ANOVA on the Scores of Social Reasoning in Middle Childhood Social Reasoning Source SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Between Groups Lie Within Groups Total Between Groups White Lie Within Groups Total Between Groups Misunderstanding Within Groups Total Between Groups Sarcasm Within Groups Total Between Groups Persuasion Within Groups Total Between Groups Contrary Emotion Within Groups Total Between Groups Joke Within Groups Total Between Groups Figure of Speech Within Groups Total Between Groups Double-Bluff Within Groups Total Between Groups Appearance-Reality Within Groups Total

25 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Table 13. Post-Hoc Comparison (Tukey s HSD) on the Scores of Social Reasoning in Middle Childhood Social Reasoning Age Groups Difference Misunderstanding 9 vs. 10 Years 0.69* 9 vs. 11 Years 0.73* 10 vs. 11 Years 0.03 Contrary Emotion 9 vs. 10 Years vs. 11 Years 0.37* 10 vs. 11 Years 0.28 Joke 9 vs. 10 Years 0.55* 9 vs. 11 Years 0.76* 10 vs. 11 Years 0.21 Appearance-Reality 9 vs. 10 Years 0.54* 9 vs. 11 Years 0.65* *The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level 10 vs. 11 Years 0.10 There is a significant effect of age for the situations involving the utterances of misunderstanding (F (2, 57) = 4.91, p<0.01, n 2 = 0.14), contrary emotion (F (2, 57) = 3.43, p<0.03, n 2 = 0.10), joke (F (2, 57) = 4.98, p<0.01, n 2 = 0.14) and appearance-reality (F (2, 57) = 9.77, p<0.00, n 2 = 0.25) (Table 11). Results from Tukey s HSD pairwise comparisons(table 12) indicate a significant difference of 9 year olds from 10 and 11 year olds in decoding social situations involving misunderstanding, joke and appearance-reality (all p<0.05). However, the performance of 10 and 11 year olds remain the same. In case of contrary emotions, Tukey s HSD pairwise comparisons reveals a significant difference only between 9 and 11 (p<0.05) year olds only. To summarize this section it can be said that 10 and 11 year olds are better decoders of social situations involving misunderstanding, joke and appearance-reality whereas in contrary emotion situation 11 year olds perform better than 9 and 10 year olds. 106

26 5.3.3 Emotional Reasoning in Middle Childhood The Emotional Reasoning task used for children in the middle childhood group is same as that of the tasks used for children in early childhood group. Table 14. Summary of One Way ANOVA on the Scores of Emotional Reasoning in Middle Childhood Emotional Reasoning Source SS df MS F Sig n p 2 Understanding Expression in Emoticons Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents Between Groups Within Groups Total Between Groups Within Groups Total Between Groups Within Groups Total The mean scores show an increasing trend of understanding emotions in the middle childhood group (Table 10). However, one way ANOVA results show that the development of understanding emotion reasoning does not differ significantly for Understanding Expression in Emoticons (F (2, 57) = 0.92, p<0.40, partial n 2 = 0.03), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self (F (2, 57) = 1.24, p<0.29, partial n 2 = 0.04), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents (F (2, 57) = 0.54, p<0.58, partial n 2 = 0.01) (Table 14). Thus, it can be concluded that there is no significant difference in emotion reasoning of 9, 10 and 11 year olds. This results suggest there might be a developmental invariance on the understanding of emotions during middle childhood. 107

27 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Interrelationship among ToM Measures during Middle Childhood The relationship among mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning is examined in this section. Pearson product-moment correlation shows mental state reasoning correlate highly only with social reasoning in the middle childhood group (Table 15). Table 15. Correlations among ToM Measures in Middle Childhood ToM Measures MSR SR ER Mental State Reasoning (MSR) * Social Reasoning (SR) Emotional Reasoning (ER) 1.00 Unlike the early childhood group, social reasoning and emotional reasoning are not strongly related with each other. Mental state reasoning and emotional reasoning are not related in this group of children. This could be due to an inconsistency in response pattern of children to the various tasks. Behavioral observations show that this group of children respond in an inconsistent manner. However, further research may clarify what prompts such behavior while children respond to the questions related to various ToM measures used in the study Cerebral Lateralization and ToM in Middle Childhood In the present section the same procedures are followed as in case of early childhood group (see section 5.2.5) to examine how the degree of lateralization affects the performance on mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning in the middle childhood group (9-11 years). After adjusting for LQ, there is no significant effect of age on children s performance for first-order false belief (F (2, 56) = 0.87, p<0.42, partial n 2 = 0.03), second-order false belief task (F (2, 56) = 1.35, p<0.26, partial n 2 = 0.04), third-order false belief task (F (2, 56) = 0.81, p<0.44, partial n 2 = 0.02) is observed. Similarly, no significant effect of age is observed for social 108

28 scenarios involving Lie (F (2, 56) = 0.83, p<0.44, partial n 2 = 0.02), White lie (F (2, 56) = 0.94, p<0.39, partial n 2 = 0.03), Sarcasm (F (2, 56) = 2.00, p<0.14, partial n 2 = 0.06), Persuasion (F (2, 56) = 0.23, p<0.78, partial n 2 = 0.00), Figure of Speech (F (2, 56) = 2.10, p<0.13, partial n 2 = 0.07), Double-Bluff (F (2, 56) = 0.99, p<0.37, partial n 2 = 0.03) after controlling for LQ. However, social scenarios involving Misunderstanding (F (2, 56) = 4.63, p<0.01, partial n 2 = 0.14), Contrary Emotion (F (2, 56) = 3.39, p<0.04, partial n 2 = 0.10), Joke (F (2, 56) = 4.50, p<0.01, partial n 2 = 0.13), Appearance-Reality (F (2, 56) = 8.97, p<0.01, partial n 2 = 0.24) show significant age differences after partialling out the effect of LQ. Adjusted mean scores suggest that even after controlling for the effect of LQ, 9 years performance fall significantly below from that of 10 and 11 years of children in Misunderstanding, Joke and Appearance-Reality situations, but 10 and 11 year olds performance remains same. Similarly, in Contrary Emotion scenario, after controlling for the effect of LQ, adjusted mean scores show that 11 year olds perform better than that of 9 and 10 year olds. Nine and 10 year olds performance however, remains the same for contrary emotion scenario. On emotional reasoning, no significant effect of age is observed for Understanding Expression in Emoticons, (F (2, 56) = 1.03, p< 0.36, partial n 2 = 0.03), Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Self, (F (2, 56) = 1.07, p< 0.34, partial n 2 = 0.03), and Antecedents of Experience of Emotion in Parents (F (2, 56) = 0.44, p< 0.64, partial n 2 = 0.01). These results reveal that age is a major factor when children try to judge social scenarios that involve misunderstanding, contrary emotion, joke and appearance-reality. However, like the early childhood group, the development of emotional reasoning in the middle childhood group also remains almost uniform across the ages. The second analysis is done with categorizing LQ scores into extreme right bias and extreme non-right bias groups and then examining for existence of any performance differences on mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. The categorization is based on the same method as described in section This categorization results in six extreme non-right 109

29 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization bias children in the middle childhood group. For the purpose of comparison an age equivalent number of extreme right bias group of children are selected. Results from an independent t test reveals a non-significant difference between the groups on second- and third- order false beliefs, all situations of social reasoning and two subtasks of emotional reasoning. Significant performance differences exist on first-order false belief and decoding expressions in emoticons. The extreme non-right bias (M=3.50, SD=0.63) group perform better than the extreme right bias group (M=2.66, SD=0.40), t (10) = 2.71, p=0.01, one-tailed), in their understanding for first-order false belief task. Similarly, the extreme non-right bias (M=4.83, SD=0.40) group perform better than the extreme right bias group (M=4.00, SD=0.89), t (10) = 2.71, p=0.03, one-tailed), in their understanding of expressions in emoticons. The higher mean performance scores by extreme non-right bias group of children in these two indices indicate that there may be a lateral advantage of right hemisphere. This finding partially supports the right-hemisphere s involvement in theory of mind understanding. However, given the data set and the methods used in the present study any such inferences at this point must be treated with caution. Further replications with large sample and advanced methods of lateralization measures may provide better answers. To sum up the section on the development during the middle childhood years, it can be said that: (1) Age plays a major role in the understanding of first- and second-order false belief. More specifically the irrelevant justification for first-order false belief understanding becomes non-existent by 11 years of age and irrelevant justification for first-order false belief reduces remarkably during middle childhood. (2) Mental state reasoning and social reasoning show significant correlations. But, a negative relation exists between mental state reasoning and emotional reasoning (though not significant) and relationship between social and emotional reasoning is very negligible. 110

30 (3) Decoding social interaction situations involving misunderstanding, joke and appearance-reality is better in 10 and 11 year olds whereas in contrary emotion scenario 11 year olds perform better than 9 and 10 year olds. (4) Right hemisphere superiority in understanding theory of mind is partially supported in middle childhood group. 5.4 Development during Late Childhood (14-16) Years Mental State Reasoning in Late Childhood The ceiling effects achieved for different orders of false belief understanding by early and middle childhood suggests the development and continuity in understanding of theory of mind. From the previous sections it is learned that, though there is a decreasing trend of irrelevant justification for the firstand second-order false belief understanding, it is not so for the third-order false belief understanding. This suggests that third-order false belief understanding still poses a challenge for 11 year olds. Hence, studying higher-order false belief understanding beyond middle childhood period requires attention given the multiplicity of representational nature of understanding others mind in real life situations. The present section thus, aims at looking for the developments occurring during the late childhood period (14-16 years). Like the previous sections, the present section also deals with the developments concerning mental state reasoning, social reasoning and emotional reasoning. The measures used and the procedures followed to examine the development of mental state reasoning are the same as used in section The mean scores and standard deviations for the tasks are presented in Table

31 Theory of Mind and Cerebral Lateralization Table 16. Summary of Mean and SD of Scores on MSR, SR and ER as a function of Age among Late Childhood Group (N=60) ToM Measures Types of Task 14 Years (n=32) Age Groups 15 Years (n=16) 16 Years (n=12) M SD M SD M SD Mental State Reasoning First -Order False Belief Second-Order False Belief Third-Order False Belief Lie White Lie Misunderstanding Sarcasm Social Reasoning Persuasion Contrary Emotion Joke Figure of Speech Double-Bluff Appearance-Reality Emotional Reasoning Conceptual Role Taking Empathetic Sensitivity Mind in the Eyes A simple 3 (Age) X 3(FB) mixed between-within subjects factorial ANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor (Table 17) reveals a significant main effect for Age, F (2,57) = 6.48, p<.01, partial n 2 = 0.18 and FB, F (2,57) = 33.26, p<.01, partial n 2 = However, the interaction effect, F (4, 57) = 2.03, p< 0.09, partial n 2 = 0.06 is not found to be significant. Pairwise or simple comparison using Bonferroni correction to maintain an alpha level of.05 reveals shows that 15 and 16 year olds performance in mental state reasoning is better than of 14 year olds. However, performance of 15 and 16 year olds remain the same. Again, pairwise comparison using Bonferroni correction to maintain an alpha level of.05 for the levels of mental state 112

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