Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Kevin Carlson

Reader 2

Judith LeMaster

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© 2015 Dana M Jones

Abstract

Studies indicate that young only children are more likely than those with siblings to have egocentric tendencies. Egocentrism is a maladaptive behavior from a lack of Theory of Mind understanding, which is the ability to take on the perspectives of others and to discern emotional cues. The current study determines whether or not only children are more likely respond negatively to teacher criticism. Only children (N=100) and those with siblings (N=100) aged six years were be tested on tasks measuring egocentrism, ToM understanding, and their response to teacher constructive criticism. Only children are expected to have lower ToM task scores, respond more negatively to criticism, and to be more likely to display traits of egocentrism than those with siblings. These potential results indicate that there is something developmentally beneficial in having a sibling(s), which promotes social and emotional competency in young children that is not necessarily prevalent for only children. Further research should examine children at an even younger age to determine when and how the difference in ToM understanding occurs.

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