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Is mind-mindedness trait-like or a quality of close relationships? Evidence from descriptions of significant others, famous people, and works of art.

Meins, E. and Fernyhough, C. and Harris-Waller, J. (2014) 'Is mind-mindedness trait-like or a quality of close relationships? Evidence from descriptions of significant others, famous people, and works of art.', Cognition, 130 (3). pp. 417-427.

Abstract

The four studies reported here sought to explore the nature of the construct of mind-mindedness. In Study 1, involving 37 mothers of 5- to 8-year-old children, mothers’ verbal mind-minded descriptions of their children were positively correlated with their mind-minded descriptions of their current romantic partner. Participants in Studies 2 (N = 114), 3 (N = 173), and 4 (N = 153) were young adults who provided written descriptions of: a close friend and their current romantic partner (Study 2); two specified famous people, two works of art, and a close friend (Study 3); a specified famous person, a famous person of the participant’s choice, and a close friend (Study 4). Study 2 obtained paper-and-pen written descriptions, whereas participants completed descriptions in electronic format in Studies 3 and 4. Mind-minded descriptions of friends and partners were positively correlated, but there was no relation between mind-minded descriptions of a friend and the tendency to describe famous people or works of art in mind-minded terms. Levels of mind-mindedness were higher in descriptions of friends compared with descriptions of famous people or works of art. Administration format was unrelated to individuals’ mind-mindedness scores. The results suggest that mind-mindedness is a facet of personal relationships rather than a trait-like quality.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Mind-mindedness, Adulthood, Relationships, Theory of mind.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.009
Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, 130, 3, March 2014, 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.009
Date accepted:14 November 2013
Date deposited:17 June 2014
Date of first online publication:20 January 2014
Date first made open access:20 January 2015

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