Thinking about what he thinks of what i think: Assessing higher theory of mind abilities in Indian bilingual children between 3.0 and 8.11 years of age

Zeba Raisa, Sudhin Karuppali, Jayashree Bhat, Gagan Bajaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: The competence in theory of mind (ToM) abilities occurs in parallel with the development of language. To gain a deeper discernment about its proficiency, tasks tapping on higher-order ToM abilities have been implemented. Aims: This study aims to explore the development of higher-order ToM abilities in bilingual Indian children between 3.0 and 8.11 years of age, to achieve an insight into the influence of language on ToM abilities. Settings and Design: The current study followed a cross-sectional design along with an employment of a random convenient sampling procedure. The study was conducted in regular English medium schools with each participant individually being assessed. Materials and Methods: The study was done on 60 Kannada-English bilingual children, with each participant being assessed using two sets of stories (English and Kannada) that were constructed based on two different central themes which were verbally narrated. The stimulus of each set consisted of questions tapping on three levels (first-second-third orders) of ToM abilities. Statistical Analysis: Descriptive statistics determined the mean and standard deviation of the total ToM scores (in both languages). Wilcoxon Signed-Rank and Mann-Whitney U-tests were done to determine the level of significance across and between the age groups (in both languages), respectively. Results: The results revealed a significant difference across the age groups. In addition, a significant difference between the responses in English and Kannada were obtained. Conclusions: The development of metalinguistic abilities is influenced by socioenvironmental factors as well as the language maturity of the child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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