Speaker: Dr Rory T. Devine, University of Birmingham
The ability to tune into others’ thoughts, feelings and desires, called ‘theory of mind’ or ‘mindreading’, has intrigued scholars since the early 1980s.
Continued curiosity about theory of mind reflects, in part, growing evidence that its development extends across middle childhood and adolescence and that there are early-emerging and stable individual differences in children’s mindreading, which are purported to explain variation in children’s social lives.
The aim of this talk is to shed light on the nature of individual differences in mindreading among school-aged children.
Drawing on data from more than 1000 children aged between 7 and 13 years, I will examine whether machine learning can be used to capture individual differences in children’s ability to read others’ minds.
I will investigate whether individual differences in children’s theory of mind test performance are socially meaningful by examining links with peer- and teacher-rated social adjustment.
Finally, I will consider whether difficulties with mindreading in middle childhood and early adolescence cross-cut traditional domains of youth mental health.
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