The effect of reality-distancing on children’s false belief understanding

Date
2023-07
Advisor
Ilgaz, Hande
Supervisor
Co-Advisor
Co-Supervisor
Instructor
Source Title
Print ISSN
Electronic ISSN
Publisher
Bilkent University
Volume
Issue
Pages
Language
English
Type
Thesis
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Series
Abstract

The socio-cultural theory has emphasized the effect of the co-constitutive nature of the narrative discourse on FB understanding, whereas simulation theory asserted that imagination is a cognitive ability that scaffolds perspective-taking which underlies children’s developing abilities to understand FBs. Elements of fantasy have been indiscriminately used in correlational and intervention studies that examined the factors that affect children’s understanding of FBs. However, there are two evidence-based reasons to expect that children would benefit from fantasy elements (i.e., increased levels of engagement and reality-distancing inherent in fantastical media contexts). The current project aims to examine the effects of varying degrees of fantasy on false belief (FB) tasks. To do so, the present studies utilize FB tasks (i.e., contents FB and change of location) in which children are presented with FB tasks that include fantastical and realistic characters as protagonists within fantastical and realistic settings, respectively. Study 1 tested the effects of the degree of fantasy and the order of receiving manipulations. The increasing degree of fantasy increased preschoolers' performance on FB tasks. Study 2 explored the same effects with a more targeted sample using an additional fantasy-orientation measure. The results replicate the effect of the degree of fantasy and suggest encountering fantastical content before realistic content selectively scaffolds younger children's performance on FB tasks. This is despite their lack of orientation toward enjoying fantastical content. Thus, the discussion of the findings and future studies emphasizes the significance of reality-distancing provided by the fantastical content included in FB tasks.

Course
Other identifiers
Book Title
Keywords
Theory of mind, Fantastical fiction, Realistic fiction, Reality-distancing fantasy orientation
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)