Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Linda Stanhope




mind, theory, tasks, temperament, time


Theory of mind is a concept that involves understanding the varying mental states of others, including beliefs, desires, and intentions. Previous research has shown that theory of mind develops around the preschool years (ages 3-5). The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between the amount of time spent in day care, a child’s temperament, and the development of theory of mind. The hypothesis of this study was twofold. First of all, it was believed that children who have spent more time in day care or preschool settings would show higher scores on theory of mind tasks because their peer interactions provide them with a specialized type of mental-state learning. Second, it was hypothesized that children who score higher on the sociability component of the Buss and Plomin (1975) temperament questionnaire would also score higher on theory of mind tasks. Approximately 50 children participated in the study. Parental reports of temperament and amount of time in childcare settings were obtained. Each child participated in a battery of tasks measuring theory of mind. Results showed that amount of time spent in day care was inversely related to score on theory-of-mind tasks. Temperament showed no relation to understanding of theory of mind.