The relationship between psychological understanding and positive social behaviors

Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Rebecca Stetson Werner, Mary Rourke, Lynn S. Zubernis, Geetha Balaraman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research investigates the relationship between psychological understanding and positive social behavior in preschool children. A sample of 67 children were given measures of mental state understanding and emotion understanding. Positive social behavior was measured by classroom observation, teacher report and peer ratings. Both mental state understanding and emotion understanding were positively related to teacher ratings of social skills, behavioral observers 'global ratings of social skills and peer popularity. When language ability was partialled out of these relationships, many of the significant correlations disappeared; however, for variables related to peers 'perceptions, psychological understanding continued to predict unique variance. The results are discussed in terms of the multiple determinacy of positive social behaviors and the potential role of language in these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-221
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Development
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affective perspective taking
  • Preschoolers
  • Social behavior
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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