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Kristen-Antonow, Susanne; Licata-Dandel, Maria; Müller, Mitho; Sodian, Beate (2018): Maternal cognition talk in the mother-toddler dyad mediates the influence of early maternal emotional availability on preschoolers' belief reasoning. In: Social Development, Vol. 27, No. 4: pp. 841-857
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Abstract

The present longitudinal study of 83 mother-child dyads (40 girls) assessed how emotional availability (EA) and maternal mental state language (MSL) are related to children's first- and second-order false belief understanding (FBU). EA was measured with the emotional availability scales at 7 and 50 months, maternal MSL within free play at 7 months. and within a book context at 24 months. First-order FBU was assessed at 50 months and second-order FBU at 70 months. The results emphasize the specific importance of high emotional connectedness between mother and infant for early and later mother-child conversations about inner states. They also stress the prominent role of maternal cognition MSL for children's first- and second-order FBU. Thereby, maternal cognition MSL seems to mediate the influence of early EA on preschoolers' first-order FBU. The results are discussed within different theoretical frameworks of FBU development.