Theory-of-mind development influences suggestibility and source monitoring

AM Bright-Paul, C Jarrold, DB Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


According to the mental-state reasoning model of suggestibility, 2 components of theory of mind mediate reductions in suggestibility across the preschool years. The authors examined whether theory-of-mind performance may be legitimately separated into 2 components and explored the memory processes underlying the associations between theory of mind and suggestibility, independent of verbal ability. Children 3 to 6 years old completed 6 theory-of-mind tasks and a postevent misinformation procedure. Contrary to the model's prediction, a single latent theory-of-mind factor emerged, suggesting a single-component rather than a dual-component conceptualization of theory-of-mind performance. This factor provided statistical justification for computing a single composite theory-of-mind score. Improvements in theory of mind predicted reductions in suggestibility, independent of verbal ability (Study 1, n = 72). Furthermore, once attribution biases were controlled (Study 2, n = 45), there was also a positive relationship between theory of mind and source memory, but not recognition performance. The findings suggest a substantial, and possibly causal, association between theory-of-mind development and resistance to suggestion, driven specifically by improvements in source monitoring.
Translated title of the contributionTheory-of-mind development influences suggestibility and source monitoring
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055 - 1068
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

Structured keywords

  • Developmental


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