A longitudinal investigation of mothers' mind-related talk to their 12- to 24-month-old infants

S. Degotardi*, J. Torr

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Children's exposure to mind-related talk has been shown to foster young children's metacognitive understanding and to orient them to the patterns of literate language long before they commence formal literacy instruction at school. In this paper, we report on a longitudinal study of the mind-related talk of 22 mothers when their infants were aged 12, 18 and 24 months. Results revealed broad and stable individual differences in mothers' propensity to use encouragement-of-autonomy, mental-state and modulation-of-certainty talk to their infants during a free play session. Mothers' talk about beliefs increased with infant age, and higher-educated mothers used significantly more mental-state and modulation-of-certainty talk than lower-educated mothers. These findings are discussed in terms of current understandings of the discourse contexts supporting children's developing understanding of the mind, and implications are derived for early childhood pedagogy in settings for children in the first two years of life.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)767-780
    Number of pages14
    JournalEarly Child Development and Care
    Volume177
    Issue number6-7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • Language
    • Maternal education
    • Mental-state talk
    • Metacognitive development
    • Mother-infant interactions
    • Theory-of-mind

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