British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 15 Issue 1 (March 1997), Pages 1-128

The relationship between belief‐desire reasoning and a projective measure of attachment security (SAT) (pages 51-61)

Recent research into the development of a child's theory of mind has investigated individual differences in children's acquisition of the concept. Most of the research that has attempted to delineate this acquisition process has approached the question from a social‐cognitive developmental perspective, measuring differences such as family size, mother‐child interaction and pretend play. Until now there has been little attempt to test empirically the claims which have been made within the psychoanalytic developmental literature—that measures of affective development, such as attachment, are also likely to be related to the development of a theory of mind and emotional understanding. The main finding of the present study was that attachment security (as measured by the SAT) was a significant correlate of theory of mind competence (as measured by a belief‐desire reasoning task), even when the contribution of chronological age, verbal mental age and social maturity were controlled for, in preschoolers and young school‐aged children.

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