Factors predicting Theory of Mind success across the lifespan

Bradford, Elisabeth E.F., Brunsdon, Victoria E.A., Ferguson, Heather J. (2018) Factors predicting Theory of Mind success across the lifespan. In: Social and Affective Neuroscience (SANS) Conference, 3-5th May 2018, Brooklyn, NY. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

Engaging in social communication requires the ability to understand the mental states of other people, such as what they may know, believe, or see, and to consider how these mental states may differ from our own. In this study, a computerised false-belief task (the Self/Other Differentiation task) was utilized to assess the ease with which typically developed adults (aged 18-78 years) could attribute beliefs to both the ‘Self’ and ‘Other’. Participants were presented with images of three containers and asked to identify where they or someone else would look for a particular object (e.g., ‘[You/John] are looking for some sugar, where would you look?]. The contents of the container was then revealed to be either congruent (e.g., sugar in the sugar bowl) or incongruent (e.g., marbles in the sugar bowl). Finally, participants were asked the critical probe question: ‘What did [You/John] think was inside the container, before seeing inside?’). Results revealed a significant effect of perspective, with longer and more error prone responses to questions referring to another person’s perspective compared to the ‘self’ perspective; this effect was larger in older adults, suggesting that differentiating between one’s own and another person’s perspective becomes more difficult with age, requiring more cognitive effort. Participants also completed tasks assessing executive functioning abilities, including inhibition, working memory, planning, and cognitive flexibility. Results indicated a key role of inhibition and working memory abilities in predicting performance on the Self/Other Differentiation task, but only in older rather than younger adults.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Lizzie Bradford
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 12:01 UTC
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 08:23 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/70345 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bradford, Elisabeth E.F.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7647-0891
Brunsdon, Victoria E.A.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6590-6880
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