2017 Vol. 10 Issue 52

Koroleva N.A., Sergienko E.A. Genesis of the relation between the theory of mind and symbolic functions of preschoolers

Full text in Russian: Королева Н.А., Сергиенко Е.А. Генезис соотношения модели психического и символических функций в дошкольном возрасте

Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

About authors
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The results of the study of the interrelation between Theory of Mind and symbolic functions at the critical stage of their development - at preschool age - are presented. The hypothesis of coherence in the development of these abilities is checked. The study of symbolic functions was carried out within the framework of play and drawing. To this end, methods embracing tasks of varying complexity, allowing a comprehensive assessment of this ability at different stages of development, including both use and understanding of the symbolic means have been developed and tested.  A stage of development of the theory of mind has been estimated by means of two sets of tasks that cover it main components (understanding of false beliefs, emotions and their causes, visual perspective, mental states and their external manifestations): the test "The Theory of Mind for Children" by Sergienko and Lebedeva; the battery of tasks "The Theory of Mind" by Hutchins at all.  We compare information about the development of these abilities with indicators of children intellectual development (WPPSI – Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence). The study involved 60 children of two age groups 3-4 years and 5-6 years, with all children having intelligence quotient about the average level of Wexler scale. It was shown that at different stages of ontogeny the symbolic function changes the character of the connection with Theory of Mind, at the same time, heterochrony was observed in the development of individual components of symbolic functions (understanding and using) in the play and drawing. Contribution of psychometric intellect to the development of the both abilities decreases with age.

Keywords: theory of mind, understanding of mental states, symbolic functions, the evaluation of play and drawing, symbolic play, preschool age


The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 17-06-00068.


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Received 15 October 2016. Date of publication: 29 April 2017.

About authors

Koroleva Natalia A.  Ph.D. Student, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13–1, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Sergienko Elena A.
 Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences,ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13–1, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Koroleva N.A., Sergienko E.A. Genesis of the relation between the theory of mind and symbolic functions of preschoolers. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 52, p. 9. http://psystudy.ru (in Russian, abstr. in English).

Permanent URL: http://psystudy.ru/index.php/eng/2017v10n52e/1420-korolova52e.html

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