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Children with Imaginary Companions Focus on Mental Characteristics When Describing Their Real-Life Friends

Davis, Paige E., Meins, Elizabeth and Fernyhough, Charles (2014) Children with Imaginary Companions Focus on Mental Characteristics When Describing Their Real-Life Friends. Infant and Child Development, 23 (6). pp. 622-633.

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Abstract

Relations between having an imaginary companion (IC) and (i) descriptions of a real‐life friend, (ii) theory of mind performance, and (iii) reported prosocial behaviour and behavioural difficulties were investigated in a sample of 5‐year‐olds (N = 159). Children who had an IC were more likely than their peers without an IC to describe their best friends with reference to their mental characteristics, but IC status was unrelated to children's theory of mind performance and reported prosocial behaviour and behavioural difficulties. These findings are discussed in the context of the proposal that there is a competence–performance gap in children's mentalizing abilities.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.1869
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF712-724.85 Developmental psychology
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3454

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