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Children with imaginary companions focus on mental characteristics when describing their real-life friends.

Davis, P. and Meins, E. and Fernyhough, C. (2014) 'Children with imaginary companions focus on mental characteristics when describing their real-life friends.', Infant and child development., 23 (6). pp. 622-633.

Abstract

Relations between having an imaginary companion (IC) and (i) descriptions of a real-life friend, (ii) theory of mind performance, and (iii) reported prosocial behaviour and behavioural difficulties were investigated in a sample of 5-year-olds (N = 159). Children who had an IC were more likely than their peers without an IC to describe their best friends with reference to their mental characteristics, but IC status was unrelated to children's theory of mind performance and reported prosocial behaviour and behavioural difficulties. These findings are discussed in the context of the proposal that there is a competence–performance gap in children's mentalizing abilities.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Imaginary companions, Friendship, Mind-mindedness, Theory of mind, Peer relationships.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/icd.1869
Publisher statement:© 2014 The Authors. Infant and Child Development published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:14 April 2014
Date deposited:17 June 2014
Date of first online publication:13 May 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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