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

P Fonagy, S Redfern, T Charman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997

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