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Brown, M. et al. (2017) Supporting the development of empathy: The role of theory of mind and fantasy orientation (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Theory of mind (ToM) and empathy are separate, but related components of social understanding. However, research has not clearly defined the distinctions between them. Similarly, related constructs, such as fantasy orientation (FO), are associated with better ToM understanding; however, little is known about how FO may provide a context in which both ToM and affective empathy develop. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 (N = 82) completed a battery of ToM, empathy, and FO measures. Results demonstrated a developmental progression from ToM to affective empathy: 3-year-olds were likely to have neither, 4-year-olds were likely to have ToM only, and 5-year-olds were likely to have both. Additionally, results indicated that FO predicted affective empathy above and beyond ToM ability, suggesting that children whose play is high in fantasy are more practiced than their peers in sharing emotions. These findings are discussed in terms of how children's propensity toward fantasy play may contribute to their social development.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
951-964
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Hart, S. (2016) Inclusion, Play and Empathy (Book)

Abstract:

Contributions from early childhood educators, teachers, psychologists, music therapists, occupational therapists, and psychotherapists highlight the crucial role that early relationships and interactions in group settings play in the development of children's personal, emotional and social skills. The book features the latest research and methods for successfully encouraging the development of these skills in groups of children aged 4-12. It explores how play within children's groups can be facilitated in order to foster emotional and empathic capacities, how to overcome common challenges to inclusion in schools and introduces practical, creative approaches to cultivating a sense of unity and team spirit in children's groups.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Games with rules
  • Learning
  • Mental health
  • Musical play
  • Peers play
  • Physical play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Research discipline: