Theory of Mind Performance in Children Correlates With Functional Specialization of a Brain Region for Thinking About Thoughts

TitleTheory of Mind Performance in Children Correlates With Functional Specialization of a Brain Region for Thinking About Thoughts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsGweon, H., Dodell-Feder D., Bedny M., & Saxe R.
JournalChild Development
Pagination1853 - 1868
Date Published11/2012
Abstract

Thinking about other people’s thoughts recruits a specific group of brain regions, including the temporo-parietal junctions (TPJ), precuneus (PC), and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). The same brain regions were recruited when children (N = 20, 5–11 years) and adults (N = 8) listened to descriptions of characters’ mental states, compared to descriptions of physical events. Between ages 5 and 11 years, responses in the bilateral TPJ became increasingly specific to stories describing mental states as opposed to people’s appearance and social relationships. Functional activity in the right TPJ was related to children’s performance on a high level theory of mind task. These findings provide insights into the origin of neural mechanisms of theory of mind, and how behavioral and neural changes can be related in development.

URLhttp://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/cdev.2012.83.issue-6
DOI10.1111/cdev.2012.83.issue-610.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01829.x
Short TitleChild Dev

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