Detailed investigation of Turkish children’s diverse belief task performance

Date
2022-12
Advisor
Ilgaz, Hande
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Bilkent University
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English
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Thesis
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Abstract

This study investigated Turkish children’s Diverse Belief (DB) task performance, which is one of the tasks in Theory of Mind (ToM) battery. Previous literature found that Turkish children underperformed on the DB task when compared to children from other cultures. In addition, Turkish children did not show the expected age-related increase in the DB task performance, and Turkish children’s DB performance was not related to the other ToM tasks and cognitive variables such as EF. Therefore, the aim was to examine whether the difficulty in the DB task is related to the task structure for Turkish children. The DB task performances and the EF skills of 45 Turkish-speaking children aged between 3 and 5 were assessed. The DB task was manipulated in terms of mental state verbs (e.g., think, guess, and no mental states) and the number of characters in the story (e.g., single, and double seekers). Results showed that Turkish children were not affected by the differences in mental state verbs, but the number of characters in the story affected performance. Children were more successful in the double-seeker conditions when the task was presented with the verb “think” (düşün- in Turkish). In the light of these results, it is possible to infer that the problems regarding Turkish children’s DB performance may be related to the curse of belief rather than Turkish children’s conceptual deficiency in belief understanding.

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Keywords
Theory of mind, Diverse belief, Executive functions, Socio-cultural approach
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)