Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
theory of mind, behavior, prosocial, results, temperament
Theory of mind is the ability to understand that others have thoughts, beliefs, or ideas that differ from one’s own. This study investigated the relationship between theory-of-mind and prosocial behavior in 42 preschoolers. Prosocial behavior is defined as voluntary actions intended to benefit another. The role of temperament was also examined in terms of the relationship between prosocial behavior and theory of mind. The researcher went to two preschools and administered a battery of seven theory-of-mind tasks individually to each child (Wellman & Lui, 2004). Parents completed a temperament questionnaire measuring emotionality, activity, sociability, and shyness. Teachers rated each child’s prosocial behavior. It was hypothesized that prosocial behavior would positively correlate with theory-of-mind skills; this was not supported. It was also hypothesized that theory-of-mind and prosocial behavior would correlate positively with the temperament dimension of sociability, and would correlate negatively with the dimensions of shyness and emotionality. However, only emotionality correlated with theory of mind, with more emotional children having significantly lower theory-of-mind scores. More active children were rated as more prosocial, while those who were more shy were less prosocial. Results are discussed in terms of adapting children’s environments to accommodate their temperaments and promote prosocial and theory-of-mind development.
Funkhouser, Shannon R., "Theory of Mind Temperament and Prosocial Behavior in Preschoolers" (2011). Honors Theses. 978.