Reading eye direction and facial expression: Theory of mind development in Chinese children
The current study investigates the development of theory of mind by determining when children in China come to use eye direction and facial expression to make inferences about other people's intentions and thoughts. Chinese children (n = 168) aged 2--8 years completed Fantie and Berger's (1998) "which one wants the candy bar" task and Sollinger's (2002) "which one knows what's in the box" task. Multivariate and Repeated Measures ANOVAs showed that (1) the development of using eye direction and facial expression as cues to infer others' wanting and knowledge was around age 5--6 in Chinese children; (2) Chinese boys were more sensitive with eye direction; and (3) Chinese children performed similarly on the Wanting task and the Knowing task. When compared to Sollinger's (2002) study of American children, these results suggest that theory of mind development might not follow a universal timeline.