Diversitas: Perspectivas en Psicología
Print version ISSN 1794-9998
ARBELAEZ, Cristina; SALGADO-MONTEJO, Alejandro and VELASCO, Ana Cristina. Pretense play and theory of mind in children with social interaction difficulties. Diversitas [online]. 2010, vol.6, n.1, pp. 13-25. ISSN 1794-9998.
Theory of mind (ToM) and pretense play have been topics of great interest to developmental psychology; nonetheless their relationship and interaction are still subjects of research. With this on mind, an instrument was developed with the purpose of determining if children with social interaction difficulties could generate ToM attributions to an object during pretense play, especially emotions and intentions. 5 case studies were conducted (male participants 11-13 years of age), diagnosed with various psychological disorders within a vulnerable social context. The instrument consisted of a semi-structured interview and a doll which had the intention of facilitating pretense play and ToM. The participants showed difficulties during pretense play tasks, requiring help to initiate play and generate a detailed explanation about the situation. In comparison, during ToM tasks their vocabulary was more fluid and relevant; which is not consistent with the literature where pretense play is a necessary precursor of ToM. We suggest that more research is needed to explain the relation between pretense play and ToM, and determine if there is an interdependency and chronological development of these cognitive abilities.
Keywords : Theory of mind; pretense play; emotion; intentionality; social difficulties.