ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (08): 706-714.

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方富熹;Henry M. Wellman;刘玉娟;刘国雄;亢蓉

  1. (1中国科学院心理研究所, 北京 100101) (2美国密执安大学人类发育发展中心, MI 48109-0406,USA.)
    (3中央教育科学研究所, 北京 100088) (4南京师范大学教育科学学院, 南京 210097)
    (5山东轻工业学院, 济南 250353)
  • 收稿日期:2007-12-19 修回日期:1900-01-01 出版日期:2009-08-30 发布日期:2009-08-30
  • 通讯作者: 方富熹

Longitudinal Perspectives: The Sequences of Theory-of-Mind Development in Chinese Preschoolers

FANG Fu-Xi;Henry M. Wellman;LIU Yu-Juan;LIU Guo-Xiong;KANG Rong


  1. (1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
    (2 Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0406, USA)
    (3Institute of Central Educational Sciences, Beijing,100088, China)
    (4School of Educational Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China)
    (5Institute of Light Industry of Shandong, Jinan, 250353, China)
  • Received:2007-12-19 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2009-08-30 Published:2009-08-30
  • Contact: FANG Fu-Xi

摘要: 本文作者前不久完成的一项横断设计研究中, 以自编的心理理论量表测查比较了中美两国3~5岁儿童的有关发展。量表包括五项任务: (1) 不同的愿望; (2) 知与不知; (3) 不同的信念; (4) 内容错误信念和 (5) 伪装的情绪。研究发现两种不同文化群体儿童对上述任务的理解均表现出稳定一致的发展次序, 两者的次序大致相同但具有重要差别: 我国儿童的理解次序如从易到难排列如上所列, 这一次序与美国儿童的差别在于我国儿童先理解“知与不知”, 然后是“不同的信念”, 而美国儿童则恰好相反。这一研究结果对了解不同文化儿童心理理论的发展次序是十分有意义的, 但问题是经由横断设计的量表研究所确立的发展次序能否准确地描述个体儿童的纵向进展呢? 为此本研究使用了相同的测量工具对参加过横断研究的北京3岁儿童(时间1)在他们4岁(时间2)和5岁(时间3)时进行了焦点追踪研究。研究结果表明, 随着测查时间的 延伸, 个体儿童的作业成绩不仅逐步提高, 而且这种提高符合量表任务的发展次序。通过应用格特曼(Guttman)和雷氏(Rasch)测量模型对这一结果的分析, 再一次证实我国个体儿童的有关发展次序与欧美文化儿童的发展次序大致相同并且有重要的差别。本研究的结果不仅能为横断研究中个别差异的研究提供有用的工具, 而且深化了人们对心理理论发展机制的认识, 即把心理理论的发展看作是在一定的文化环境影响下不断扩展和深化的概念建构过程。但对这一推论仍有待进一步证实。

关键词: 心理理论量表, 纵向研究, 发展次序, 学前儿童

Abstract: Theory-of-mind (ToM) refers to people’s consistent interpretation of each other’s actions in terms of un-derlying mental states (beliefs, desires and emotions). Children come to do this in the preschool years (Harris, 2006; Wellman, 2002). In earlier research a ToM Scale was established to examine sequences of ToM under-standing in children raised in U.S (Wellman & Liu, 2004) and China (Wellman, et al., 2006). The scale encom-passes tasks assessing preschooler’s understanding of (1) diverse desires (DD), (2) diverse beliefs (DB), (3) knowledge-access (KA), (4) false belief (FB), and (5) hidden emotion (HE). The five tasks were comparable in procedure, language and format as well as comparable across the English and Chinese versions. These two groups cross-sectionally evidenced two consistent, similar but crucially differing sequences of understanding: The item-order (from easy to hardest) for US children is that listed above, but for Chinese children the sequence was DD> KA > DB > FB > HE. That is, the order of DB and KA was reversed across these groups. Such find-ings are valuable for establishing developmental sequences in children raised in different cultures, and seem-ingly provide a cross-sectional shortcut to tracking longitudinal sequences. However, it remains an open ques-tion whether the sequences established cross-sectionally via the scale accurately depicted the longitudinal pro-gressions that individual children undergo. We addressed that question by examining whether cross-sectional progressions and longitudinal progressions converged in Chinese preschoolers.
31 Chinese preschoolers from Beijing who had received the scale as 3-year-olds were retested again as 4-year-olds and 25 of them were retested a third time as 5-year-olds. Each child received the 5-item scale at each testing. As is standard for this scale tasks all used toy figurine and picture props to show objects and situations. All tasks included a focal test question and a control question. Children were required to pass both questions in order to count as passing a task.
The data showed that the same 5-step sequence established in cross-sectional scaling analyses also charac-terized the longitudinal progression in Chinese children. These progressions were confirmed with Guttman and Rasch scale analyses. More specifically the scores of great majority of children increased longitudinally and decreases were rare. Thus a repeated measure ANOVA yielded a significant main effect for testing times (ages). Closer examination of children’s individual longitudinal progressions confirmed that children’s scores not only increased, they generally increased in sequence along the scale.
In conclusion, the ToM Scale (in Chinese version) validly provides a useful method for approximating lon-gitudinal progressions via a cross-sectional approach. It also confirms consistent sequential conceptual under-standing in Chinese individual children which is largely were similar to but also crucially different from that of children from Anglo-European cultures. We discuss these sequential differences of ToM development between Chinese and US children in terms of the social interactive experiences and culturally shaped information that critically influence theory-of-mind understanding, coupled with an analysis of the contrasting language and fa-milial systems that characterized children’s early childhood experiences.

Key words: theory-of-mind scale, longitudinal study, developmental sequence, preschooler

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