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Mentalizing in children with communicative disabilities

Paper i proceeding
Författare Erland Hjelmquist
Mikael Heimann
Publicerad i Symposium at the XIIth European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Universidag de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, August 24-28 2005.
Publiceringsår 2005
Publicerad vid Psykologiska institutionen
Språk en
Ämnesord Mentalizing, theory of mind, deaf children, autism, cerebral palsy, imitation
Ämneskategorier Samhällsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

The issue of mentalizing (mind-reading, theory of mind) abilities has become an important focus of research on non-typically developing children. It has offered a possibility for further delineating fundamental aspects of the prerequisites of mind-reading. Irrespective of what group of children has been studied, typical or non-typical, the role of language for the development of mind-reading has been a controversial issue. Originally, the theory of mind enterprise was launched with the title “Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?” (Premack & Woodruff, 1978). If a chimpanzee could be shown to have theory of mind, the role of lan-guage would have been clear in the sense that it could be ruled out as a necessary condition for a theory of mind. However, despite decades of research on children and adults varying in a number of respects, including language skills and lan-guage level, no definite answer has yet been delivered on the role of language, or precursors of language, such as imitation. In the symposium we will present theoretical analysis and empirical data from typically developing children, chil-dren with autism, non-speaking children and deaf children, aiming at further elucidating the role of language in relation to other factors for mind-reading de-velopment.

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