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The role of theory of mind and social skills in predicting children’s cheating
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Short Title: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2019/03/01/
Pages: 337 - 347
Sources ID: 39491
Collection: Theory of Mind
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
The current study investigated the relation between children’s (3- to 8-year-olds) cheating behaviors and their sociocognitive development, including theory-of-mind (ToM) understanding and social skills. A total of 295 children completed a temptation resistance paradigm where they were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter’s absence (measure of cheating). Children completed first- and second-order ToM measures, and parents completed the Social Skills Improvement System (SSiS) Rating Scales questionnaire as an assessment of their children’s social skills. Results indicated that ToM and total SSiS scores were unique predictors of children’s cheating, such that with increased ToM and SSiS scores children were significantly less likely to cheat. In particular, children’s responsibility scores (subscale of SSiS Rating Scales) emerged as a unique predictor of cheating. Children’s performance on both scales were examined together and demonstrated that only children who had high levels of both ToM and responsibility were significantly less likely to cheat compared with children who were low on both measures. These findings demonstrate that children’s sociocognitive development affects their cheating behaviors, likely through an understanding of the importance of maintaining positive social relationships.