ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (8): 892-904.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00892

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


赵欣, 李丹丹, 杨向东()   

  1. 华东师范大学教育学部教育心理学系, 上海 200062
  • 收稿日期:2021-08-16 出版日期:2022-08-25 发布日期:2022-06-23
  • 通讯作者: 杨向东
  • 基金资助:

The relationship between preschoolers’ understanding of considerate socially-mindful actions and theory of mind

ZHAO Xin, LI Dandan, YANG Xiangdong()   

  1. Department of Educational Psychology, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China
  • Received:2021-08-16 Online:2022-08-25 Published:2022-06-23
  • Contact: YANG Xiangdong


本文探究了4~6岁儿童社会善念理解的发展及其与心理理论的关系。研究测量了100名4~6岁儿童的社会善念理解、心理理论、亲社会性和执行功能。结果发现, 随着年龄增长, 儿童愈加在社会评价和朋友偏好上倾向于社会善念人物, 并且此社会善念理解能力与心理理论的发展呈显著正相关, 且此相关在控制了年龄、执行功能及亲社会性后依然稳定存在, 但社会善念理解与亲社会性并不相关。此结果表明, 心理理论可能对社会善念理解的发展有重要作用。

关键词: 社会认知发展, 社会善念, 心理理论, 学龄前儿童, 道德认知


We live in a highly interdependent world. Even if we do not directly interact with others, our own behaviors can have an indirect impact on others. Such behaviors that indirectly bring benefits to others are defined as considerate, socially-mindful actions. In this study, we examined preschoolers’ evaluation of considerate socially-mindful actions; importantly, we also explored the underlying developmental mechanisms by examining its potential relationship to the development of theory-of-mind abilities. A total of 100 children aged 4~6 were recruited in this study. In the social mindfulness task, children were asked to compare two story characters, both of whom were to choose snack at snack time. One of the characters leaves a choice for the person waiting behind when she took a piece of fruit for herself (i.e., acts socially mindful), while the other character in a similar situation leaves no choice for the person waiting behind (i.e., does not act socially mindful). Children were then asked 1) which of these two characters was nicer and 2) who they would prefer to choose as a friend. In addition, children were also administered theory-of-mind tasks (including the content false belief task, location false belief task, and hidden emotion task). We also measured children’s prosocial orientation (by a sharing task) and executive functioning capacity (by a Day/Night Stroop task) as controlling variables. We found that, first, with age, children increasingly rated the socially-mindful character as nicer than the character who left no choice, and increasingly selected the socially-mindful character as a friend. Second, when controlling for age, children's evaluations and friend preference in the social mindfulness task was significantly positively correlated with their theory-of-mind, but was not correlated with their sharing behaviors or executive functioning. Such correlation remained significant when controlling for sharing and executive functioning. In summary, between the ages 4 and 6, children gradually develop an understanding and evaluation of social mindfulness, and such development is correlated with the development of theory-of-mind abilities. These findings provide insights for our understanding of children's social and moral evaluation and its underlying developmental mechanism.

Key words: social cognitive development, social mindfulness, theory of mind, preschoolers, moral cognition