Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Adam S. Cohen

Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to infer mental states. The purpose of Study 1 was to reduce performance demands on a ToM test for forty (22 females) children (M age = 4.604; SD age = 1.128). Here, a low-uncertainty condition included a behaviour repetition manipulation, intended to increase success rate—but results did not confirm our hypothesis. Potential reasons for the results of Study 1 are discussed and tested in Study 2. The purpose of Study 2 was to determine the mechanism by which ToM operates in fifty-seven (26 females) adult participants (M age = 20.632; SD age = 3.368) by altering informational richness more directly. Results of Study 2 confirm that the mechanism by which ToM operates is via uncertainty reduction. These data motivate Study 3 in which child-appropriate vignettes will be used to address the limitations of Study 1 and implement the design of Study 2.


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