Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


Vilenskaya G.A., Lebedeva E.I. The development of understanding of mental world and behavioral control in preschool age

Full text in Russian: Виленская Г.А., Лебедева Е.И. Развитие понимания ментального мира и контроля поведения в дошкольном возрасте
Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

About authors
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The article is devoted to relationship of understanding of mental world (considered as a theory of mind and its predictors) and self-regulation (considered as a behavioral control) in the process of development. The results of the longitudinal study of theory of mind level and behavioral control in 3‒5 years old children (N = 22) are presented. It is shown that for prediction of the theory of mind development level on the basis of behavioral control in the earlier age, cognitive control (through the mediating role of speech) and control of actions appear to be most important. Anxiety as an indicator of emotional control leads to more rapid development of theory of mind in 3‒4 years old children facilitating children's attention to the social markers of desires, intentions and thoughts of other people. The development of impulsivity control goes before the development of mental world understanding which indicates the importance of self-regulation for the development of understanding of mental world of the others.

Keywords: theory of mind, behavioral control, preschool age, predictors of theory of mind, cognitive control, emotional control, control of actions, understanding of mental world, self-regulation


The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, project 12-06-00785.


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Received 27 June 2014. Date of publication: 30 December 2014.

About authors

Vilenskaya Galina A. Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Lebedeva Evgeniya I. Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Vilenskaya G.A., Lebedeva E.I. The development of the understanding of mental world and the behavioural control in preschool age. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2014, Vol. 7, No. 38, p. 5. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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