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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32195

Title: Action, Consciousness and Theory of Mind: Children’s Ability to Coordinate Story Characters’ Actions and Thoughts
Authors: Pelletier, Janette
Wilde Astington, Janet
Keywords: theory of mind
early childhood education
story narrative
kindergarten children
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Early Education and Development
Citation: Pelletier, J. & Astington, J. W. (2004). Action, consciousness and theory of mind: Children’s ability to coordinate story characters’ actions and thoughts. Early Education and Development, 15 (1), 5-22.
Abstract: This study reports on an analysis of the relation between kindergarten children’s developing theory of mind and their understanding of characters’ actions and consciousness in story narrative, based on Bruner’s (1986) notion of the dual landscapes of action and consciousness. Wordless picture books were used to model these two aspects of narrative through the direct portrayal of action and thought by way of thought bubbles and adults’ explicit metacognitive talk. Children were asked to retell stories following both an experimenter’s and the teacher’s initial storytelling. Children’s ability to coordinate story characters’ thoughts, beliefs and intentions (consciousness) was measured by the frequency of reference to both the character’s action or presence and the content of his/her thought bubbles in the stories. Results of the analyses revealed relations among children’s age, language ability, non-verbal intelligence, theory of mind development, and their ability to coordinate consciousness and action in the stories. Younger children who have less developed theory of mind more often retold just the action in the real world without reference to thought, or else described the scene depicted within the thought bubble without reference to the character who held the thought. Implications for education, such as teaching children to talk about the mind, are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32195
ISSN: 1040-9289
Appears in Collections:Faculty (HDAP)

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