Training Children’s Theory-of-Mind: A Meta-Analysis of Controlled Studies
Claremont McKenna College, Psychology (CMC)
Theory-of-mind (ToM) refers to knowledge and awareness of mental states in oneself and others. Various training programs have been developed to improve ToM in children.
In the present study, we conducted a quantitative review of ToM training programs that have been tested in controlled studies.
A literature search was conducted using PubMed, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Library, and manual searches.
We identified 32 papers with 45 studies or experiments that included 1529 children with an average age of 63 months (SD = 28.7).
ToM training procedures were more effective than control procedures and their aggregate effect size was moderately strong (Hedges’ g = 0.75, CI = 0.60–0.89, p < .001). Moderator analyses revealed that although ToM training programs were generally effective, ToM skill-related outcomes increased with length of training sessions and were significantly higher in active control studies.
ToM training procedures can effectively enhance ToM in children.
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.
Hofmann, S., Doan, S.N., Sprung, M., Wilson, A., Ebesutani, C. et al, (2016). Training children’s theory – of - mind: A meta-analysis of controlled studies. Cognition, 150, 200-212.