Theory-of- mind-related abilities present a long development characterized by both vertical and horizontal décalages. A vertical type of décalage can be seen in children’s abilities to take into account, on a practical level, others’ intentional and mental states and use internal state terms to talk about them before they are able to succeed, at the dominant representational level of functioning, in false belief tasks. Several horizontal décalages can also be observed. It is only after success in FB tasks that children can talk about the mental states of characters in fictional stories. Moreover, ToM-related and other inferential elements are expressed earlier and more frequently in conversationally-constructed than in monologically-produced narratives. This paper examines in particular this type of horizontal décalage by comparing the types of explanations produced by eighty 6- and 7-year-old French-speaking children during a short conversational intervention (SCI) focused on the causes of the story events to those expressed in monological narratives, about the same wordless picture story, produced immediately after or before the SCI. The results confirm that children expressed more ToM-related and other inferential elements during the SCI than in the two monologically-produced narratives. However, the comparison between explanations produced during the SCI and in the immediately following monological narrative also reveals complex relations among understanding, knowing and expressing this knowledge. The reasons and the significance of the horizontal décalages found in the study are discussed.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Aksu-Koç A. & Tekdemir G. (2004). Interplay between narrativity and mindreading: A comparison between Turkish and English. In S. Strömqvist & L. Verhoeven (Eds.) Relating events in narrative: Typological and contextual perspective (pp. 307–327). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.
Astington J. W. (2001). The future of theory-of-mind research: Understanding motivational states the role of language and real-world consequences. Child Development72 685–687.
Astington J. W. (2006). The developmental interdependence of theory of mind and language. In S. C. Levinson & N. J. Enfield (Eds.) The roots of human sociality: Culture cognition and human interaction (pp. 179–206). Oxford: Berg.
Bartsch K. & Wellman H.M. (1995). Children's talk about the mind. New York NY: Oxford University Press.
Baumgartner E. Devescovi A. & D'Amico S. (2000). Il lessico psicologico dei bambini. Roma: Carocci Editore.
Berman R. A. (2004). The role of context in developing narrative abilities. In S. Strömqvist & L. Verhoeven (Eds.) Relating events in narrative: Typological and contextual perspectives (pp. 261–280). Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Berman R. A. (2009). Trends in research on narrative development. In S. Foster-Cohen (Ed.) Language acquisition (pp. 294–318). Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Berman R. A. & Slobin D. I. (1994). Relating events in narrative: A crosslinguistic developmental study. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
Bokus B. (1996). Narrative space structuring at the preschool age: Findings on monologic and dialogic discourse. In C. E. Johnson & J. H. V. Gilbert (Eds.) Children’s language Vol. 9 (pp. 197–207). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.
Bokus B. (1998). Action and its representation in the minds of story characters: Findings from children’s discourse. Psychology of Language and Communication2 63–77.
Bokus B. (2004). Inter-mind phenomena in child narrative discourse. Pragmatics14 391–408.
Bokus B. (2013). Mind-reading in children’s narration: Mental states ascribed to narrative line and narrative field subjects. In G. Shugar Wales B. Bokus & J. Smogorzewska (Eds.) From reference situation to narrative textvol. 21 (pp. 77–111). Piaseczno Poland: Studio Lexem. ISBN 9788393625857.
Chandler M. (2001). Perspective taking in the aftermath of theory-theory and the collapse of the social role-taking literature. In A. Tryphon & J. Vonèche (Eds.) Working with Piaget: In memoriam–Bärbel Inhelder (pp. 39–63). Hove East Sussex: Psychology Press.
Dunn J. (1991). Understanding others: evidence from naturalistic studies of children. In A. Whiten (Ed.) Natural theories of mind (pp. 51–61) Oxford UK: Blackwell.
Dunn J. Bretherton I. & Munn P. (1987). Conversation about feeling states between mothers and their young children. Developmental Psychology23 132–139.
Eaton J. H. Collis G. N. & Lewis V. A. (1999). Evaluative explanations in children’s narratives of a video sequence without dialogue. Journal of Child Language26 699–720.
Eisenberg A. R (1985). Learning to describe past experiences in conversation. Discourse Processes8 177–204.
Flavell J. H. Green F. L. & Flavell E. R. (1986). Development of knowledge about the appearance-reality distinction. Monographs of the Society for Research on Child Development51(1 Serial No. 212).
Furnari E. (1980). Esconde-Esconde para Crianças de 3 a 5 años. Atica: Brésil.
Grosse G. Moll H. & Tomasello M. (2010). 21-month-olds understand the cooperative logic of requests. Journal of Pragmatics42 3377–3383.
Hausendorf H. & Quasthoff U.M. (1992). Children’s storytelling in adult-child interaction: three dimensions in narrative development. Journal of Narrative and Life History2 293–306.
Hickmann M. (1995). Discourse organization and reference. In P. Fletcher & B. MacWhinney (Eds.) Handbook of Child Language (pp. 194–218). Cambridge MA: Basil Blackwell.
Karmiloff-Smith A. (1992). Beyond Modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Melot A. M. (1999). Développement cognitif et métacognitif : panorama d'un nouveau courant. Enfance3 205–214.
Miller P. J. & Sperry L. L. (1988). Early talk about the past: The origins of conversational stories of personal experience. Journal of Child Language15 293–315.
Nelson K. (1999). Event representations narrative development and internal working models. Attachment and Human Development1 239–252.
Nelson K. & Khan K. (2019). New frontiers in facilitating narrative skills in children and adolescents: A dynamic systems account incorporating eight narrative developmental stages. In E. Veneziano & A. Nicolopoulou (Eds) Narratives literacy and other skills: Studies in intervention (pp. 173-200). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
O'Neill D. K. (1996). Two-year-old children's sensitivity to a parent's knowledge state when making requests. Child Development67 659–677.
Perner J. Leekam S. R. & Wimmer H. (1987). Three-year olds' difficulty with false belief: The case for a conceptual deficit. British Journal of Developmental Psychology5 125–137.
Piaget (1937/1971). La construction du réel chez l'enfant. Neuchâtel; Paris: Delachaux et Niestlé.
Piaget J. (1941). Le mécanisme du développement mental et les lois du groupement des opérations : esquisse d'une théorie opératoire de l'intelligence. Archives de Psychologie28 215–285.
Piaget J. (1974). La prise de conscience. Paris: PUF.
Piaget J. & Inhelder B. (1941). Le développement des quantités chez l'enfant : conservation et atomisme. Neuchâtel; Paris: Delachaux et Niestlé.
Repacholi B. M. & Gopnik A. (1997). Early reasoning about desires: evidence from 14- and 18-month-olds. Developmental Psychology33 12–21.
Sachs J. (1983). Talking about the there and then: the emergence of displaced reference in parent-child discourse. In K. E. Nelson (Ed.) Children's language. Vol. 4. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
Shatz M. (1994). A toddler’s life: Becoming a person. New York NY: Oxford University Press.
Shiro M. (2003). Genre and evaluation in narrative development. Journal of Child Language30 165-195.
Tomasello M. (1995). Joint attention as social cognition. In C. Moore & P. J. Dunham (Eds.) Joint attention: Its origins and role in development (pp. 103–130). Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
Veneziano E. (1999). L’acquisition de connaissances pragmatiques: apprendre à expliquer. Revue Parole 9/10 1–28
Veneziano E. (2001). Interactional processes in the origins of the explaining capacity. In K. Nelson A. Aksu-Koc and C. Johnson (Eds.) Children’s language: Developing narrative and discourse competence (pp. 113–141). Mahwah N.J.: L. Erlbaum.
Veneziano E. (2009). Language and internal states: A long developmental history at different levels of functioning. RIPLA Rivista di Psicolinguistica applicata /Journal of Applied PsycholinguisticsIX 9–27.
Veneziano E. (2010). Peut-on aider l’enfant à mieux raconter? Les effets de différentes méthodes d’intervention. In H. Makdissi A. Boisclair & P. Sirois (Eds.) La littératie au préscolaire: une fenêtre ouverte sur la scolarisation (pp. 107–144). Québec: Presses Universitaires du Quebec.
Veneziano E. (2016). The development of narrative discourse in French by 5 to 10 year old children: Some insights from a conversational interaction method. In J. Perera M. Aparici E. Rosado & N. Salas (Eds.) Written and spoken language development across the lifespan: Essays in honour of Liliana Tolchinsky (pp. 141–160). New York NY: Springer Verlag.
Veneziano E. (2017). Talking about the nonliteral: Internal states and explanations in child-constructed narratives. Psychology of Language and Communication 21(1) 134–151. DOI: 10.1515/plc-2017-0007
Veneziano E. Albert L. & Martin S. (2009). Learning to tell a story of false belief: A study of French-speaking children. In J. Guo E. Lieven N. Budwig S. Ervin-Tripp K Nakamura & S. Özçaliskan (Eds) Crosslinguistic approaches to the psychology of language: Research in the tradition of Dan Isaac Slobin (pp. 277–289). New York NY: Psychology Press.
Veneziano E. & Hudelot C. (2006). Etats internes fausse croyance et explications dans les récits: effets de l’étayage chez les enfants de 4 à 12 ans. Langage et l'Homme41(2) 119–140.
Veneziano E. & Hudelot C. (2009). Explaining events in narratives: the impact of scaffolding in 4 to 12 year-old children. Psychology of Language and Communication13(1) 3–20.
Veneziano E. Hudelot C. LeNormand M. T. Plumet M. H. & Elie J. (forthcoming). Improving narrative skills in 5- to 8-year-old French-speaking children: Immediate and delayed effects of a short conversational intervention.
Veneziano E. & Plumet M. H. (2019). Promoting narratives through a short conversational intervention in typically developing and high-functioning children with ASD. In E. Veneziano & A. Nicolopoulou (Eds) Narratives literacy and other skills: Studies in intervention (pp.285-312). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Veneziano E. Plumet M. H. Angeard N. & Moutier S. (2012). Attribution of false belief in French children: Décalages between tasks and cultural differences. 42nd Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society Toronto Canada.
Veneziano E. & Sinclair H. (1995). Functional changes in early child language: The appearance of references to the past and of explanations. Journal of Child Language22 557–581.
Wimmer H. & Perner J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception. Cognition13 103–128