Language abilities and false-belief reasoning in 2- to 4-year-old children

19th November 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Birsu Kandemirci, Lancaster University

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room K/L, Bruner Building C

Seminar Abstract


Differentiating between one’s own and others’ perspectives, and being able to reason about mental phenomena such as mistakes and surprise are central socio-cognitive abilities. Previous research suggests that language proficiency plays a crucial role in the development of such socio-cognitive skills. In this talk, I will present three studies that investigate the relationship between children’s language skills and their perspective-taking abilities. In the first study, we took a longitudinal approach to examine whether children’s ability to comprehend and produce perspective-marking language contributed to their false-belief understanding. In the second study, we designed a brief language intervention to support children’s complement-clause understanding and examined the effects of this intervention on their false-belief performance. The final study in this project focused on the characteristics of different languages (i.e., English and Turkish) and whether different grammatical structures of these languages (i.e., presence or absence of obligatory evidential markers) impacted children’s perspective-taking and source-monitoring abilities. I will discuss the results from these three studies to draw a more comprehensive picture of how language contributes to children’s ability to make sense of the world around them.


About the speaker


Birsu Kandemirci completed her PhD at Sheffield University’s Psychology department. Her PhD research was on children’s creative and collaborative skills. Following her PhD, she joined Lancaster University’s Linguistics and English Language department as a postdoctoral researcher. Currently she is a lecturer of Developmental Psychology at Kingston University London. Her main areas of interest are children’s cognitive and social skills such as creativity, peer collaboration, language abilities, and theory of mind.


About the department of education


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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