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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Professor Charles Fernyhough

Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., Johnson, F. & Lidstone, J. (2006). Mind-mindedness in children: Individual differences in internal-state talk in middle childhood. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 24(1): 181-196.

Author(s) from Durham


Children's use of internal-state language during 2 tasks (book narration and describing a best friend) was investigated in a sample (N=38) of 7- to 9-year-olds. Proportional use of internal-state talk on the two tasks was highly positively correlated, a relation that was independent of verbosity, age, verbal ability and the use of non-internal-state language. Theory of mind (ToM) performance, assessed using Happé's (1994) strange stories task, was not related to children's proportional use of internal-state language on either task. We suggest that these cross-task relations provide evidence of individual differences in children's spontaneous use of internal-state language that are independent of their capacities for representing those internal states