Brief Report: The Role of Psychological Language in Children’S Theory of Mind and Self-Concept Development

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Abstract

Children’s self-concept and theory of mind are both important factors in children’s social, cognitive and emotional development. Research on gender differences in children’s theory of mind understanding reveals contradictory findings such as higher degree of social understanding or theory of mind in girls (Villaneuva Badenes, Clemente Estevan, & Garcia Bacete 2000), boys score higher than girls (Russell et al., 2007), or no gender differences at all (Villaneuva Badenes, Clemente Estevan, & Garcia Bacete, 2000). This research study is part of a larger 3-year longitudinal study, investigating children’s social and emotional development during middle childhood. This study explores the gendered relations between self-concept and social understanding (including psychological language) in middle school aged children (n = 49, ages 11-13). Results suggest a negative correlation between boys’ sense of self-worth and psychological language. Implications for curriculum development that promotes socio-emotional literacy within middle school are discussed

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