Is cultural variation the norm? A closer look at sequencing of the theory of mind scale
Wellman and Liu's (2004) ToM scale canonized efforts to generate a developmentally nuanced understanding of ToM. Further elaboration has come from studies showing some variability in task sequencing across two broad categories of culture (i.e., ‘Collectivist’, ‘Individualist’). The current study contributes to our understanding of ToM by exploring intra-cultural variation in task sequencing for a Turkish sample. The ToM scale, language, and EF tasks were administered to 366 preschoolers. When analyzed as a single group, preschoolers showed a sequence most consistent with Chinese/Iranian samples. However, when children were grouped according to age, 3-year-olds were most similar to the US/Australian samples, 4-year-olds were most similar to Chinese/Iranian samples, and 5-year-olds showed a new sequence where knowledge access was the easiest. The analyzes suggest that EF alone was related to the differences in sequencing. Current findings imply that explaining sequence differences may require considering the interactive effects of culture and cognitive abilities.