The multifactorial nature of theory of mind A structural

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					The multifactorial nature of theory of mind:
      A structural modelling study
                            Larry Cashion
                             Rachel Dryer
                           Michael Kiernan
              School of Social Sciences & Liberal Studies
                         Charles Sturt University
                        Bathurst NSW Australia

  Presented at the 14th Australasian Human Development Association Biennial
                                   Conference
                          Perth Western Australia
                                 July 2005
         Presentation Plan
 Theory of Mind and Classification

 Current research study method

 Age, gender, and the multifactorial nature of
  theory of mind

 Conclusions and implications
             Theory of Mind

 The ability to attribute mental states, such as
  thoughts, beliefs, intentions, desires, and
  feelings, to others and oneself

 The ability to perform social and laboratory tasks
  requiring theory of mind has also been called
  mentalising and mindreading
  Classification in Theory of
             Mind

First-order theory of mind

Second-order theory of mind

Higher-order or advanced theory of mind
First-Order Theory of Mind

  Unexpected locations
      “Where will X look for the object?”

  Unexpected contents
      “What does X think is in the box?”

  Appearance-reality
      “What is this object really?”
Second-Order Theory of Mind

   Ice-Cream Van
       “Where will X look for Y?”


   Unexpected locations
       “Where does Y think X will look for the
        object?”
Higher-Order Theory of Mind

  Understanding mental states in
   motivating actions
      “Does X mean what she says?”
      “Why did Y do that?”


  Reading complex mental states
      “What is X thinking or feeling?”
Theory of Mind Modularity

Theory of Mind Module (ToMM)
    Leslie (1987; Leslie & Roth, 1993)
    ToMM neurologically separate from other cognitive
     and brain systems


Minimalist modularity
    Baron-Cohen (1999)
    Sub-modules of eye direction detection,
     intentionality detector, shared attention mechanism
False belief & Theory of Mind

 False belief unrepresentative of
  theory of mind in general
      Bloom & German (2000)


 False belief as a highly complex
  cognitive function
      Bloom & German (2000)
Competing Theory of Mind
        Models
  3-factors
      1st-, 2nd- & higher-order ToM
      Common use in literature

  2-factors
      False belief tasks & other tasks
      Bloom & German

  1-factor
      Theory of mind module
      Leslie
               Method I

Participants
    216 school-aged children
    Recruited from State Schools in NSW & Victoria
    Years 1, 3, and 5
    Screened using a modified version of the Social
     Communication Profile (Coggins & Olswang, 2001)
    2 children eliminated from sample prior to testing
    No adverse incidents
    Ethics approval from CSU, and NSW & Victorian
     Departments of Education
                  Method II
 First-order tests
       Sally-Anne Task (unexpected locations)
       Smarties Task (unexpected contents)
 Second-order tests
       Ice-Cream Van Task
       Second-Order Sally-Anne Task
 Higher-order tests
       Strange Stories Test
       Faux Pas Test
       Eyes Test – Children’s Version
Methodological Issues
Memory prompts
     No memory prompts or hints were
      provided to participants

Justification questions
     Often absent from previous first- and
      second-order ToM research
     Makes lower-order tasks more
      consistent with higher-order tasks
     Ensures understanding, not just
      recognition
         Hypotheses

Significant group differences
     Older children will perform better than
      younger children

Significant gender differences
     Females superior to males

3-factor model superior
     Better fit than 1- and 2-factor models
     Data Analysis

Categorical data
    Chi-square (χ2)
Continuous data
    ANOVA + Tukey HSD
Structural Modelling
    Mplus confirmatory factor
     analysis
                       Results I
Task                    Year 1   Year 3   Year 5

Sally-Anne
Interpretation           72.9     90.1     89.3
Justification            65.7     83.1     89.3
Smarties
Interpretation           87.1     94.4    100.0
Justification            71.4     87.3     98.7
Ice-Cream Van
Interpretation           27.9     42.3     52.0
Justification            17.6     38.0     50.7
Sally-Anne 2nd-Order
Interpretation           69.6     81.7     96.0
Justification            31.9     57.7     85.3
                       Results II
Task                    Year 1   Year 3   Year 5

Strange Stories (/8)
Interpretation           4.70     5.25     6.05
Justification            2.29     3.25     4.09


Faux Pas (/10)
Total                    5.55     7.11     8.29

Eyes Test (/28)
Total                   15.02    16.90    18.77
  Results III

No gender
differences
for any task
                            Results IV
Model                  χ2     p      df    CFI      TLI     WRMR
No correlated terms
3-factor              18.60   .069   11    0.975   0.951     .546
2-factor              23.42   .037   13    0.965   0.944     .634
1-factor              24.67   .038   14    0.946   0.946     .655
Sally-Anne Tasks correlated
3-factor               6.56   .766   10    1.000   1.024     .328
2-factor              20.60   .057   13    0.971   0.950     .593
1-factor              20.36   .087   13    0.975   0.960     .596

N = 216; all models use WLSM estimation & Santorra-Bentler scaled χ2
                 Smarties
      e1                       .88
           .23                         1st
                                      Order
                                      ToM
      e2         Sally-Anne    .59
           .65   (1st-order)
.34                                            .37
      e3         Sally-Anne
           .32   (2nd-order)   .83
                                       2nd
                                      Order
                                                     .76
                                      ToM
                 Ice-Cream
      e4                        .48
           .77      Van


                                               .81
           .56    Strange
      e5
                  Stories       .66

           .58                        Higher
      e6          Faux Pas            Order
                               .65     ToM

           .71      Eyes        .54
      e7
     Summary of Results
Hypothesis 1 – age group
 differences supported
     For all theory of mind tasks

Hypothesis 2 – gender differences
 not supported
     For all theory of mind tasks

Hypothesis 3 – 3-factor model
 significant superiority supported
              Implications I
Support for the multifactorial nature of
 theory of mind
     Fits with current theory and use of ToM

Challenge to ‘male brain’ theory of
 Baron-Cohen
     No gender differences detected
     No interaction effects
     Possible that gender effects were not evident because
      of prepubescent sample – but still fails to fit theory
             Implications II

Challenge to current orthodoxy in
 theory of mind research
    Assumptions of age – ability development of theory of
     mind were not supported
    Knowledge that ‘something’ is going on is different from
     understanding what that ‘something’ is
    Instruction sets and ‘memory prompts’ affect the
     ecological validity of ToM tasks and artificially inflate
     passing rates
          Where Now?
Further examination of ‘memory
 prompts’ and instruction sets
Further research into the
 multifactorial nature of theory of
 mind using a larger array of tasks
Using the 3-factor model to
 examine the relationship with
 executive functioning
Contact Details


   Larry Cashion

  larry@cashion.net

				
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