Cognitive development of turkish children on the relation of evidentiality and theory of mind

Özoran, Dinçer
For the first time a representative Theory of Mind (ToM) scale (Wellman & Liu, 2004) has been cast into three different linguistic forms in order to show the impact of evidential markers on ToM understanding. With Turkish children, we studied (i) a control form without explicit evidential markers, as conducted by Bayramoğlu & Hohenberger (2007), (ii) a verbal form with –DI (marking factuality in the past ) and (iii) a verbal form with –MIS (marking hearsay in the past). To predict ToM performance of children, we also conducted a working memory task and two language tasks for complex syntax understanding. Our analysis showed that Turkish children, ranging from 4 to 7 years of age, performed significantly better with the form –DI than the control form. Also one of the language tasks which measures relative clause understanding was found to be a significant predictor of ToM performance. We conclude that evidential markers may help Turkish children in their online reasoning of ToM. We think that the relation between evidentiality and ToM may be understood clearer with cross-linguistic studies by varying the presence of evidentials and also their linguistic properties (i.e. lexical or morphological) while controlling the materials across languages. Theory of Mind (ToM), Evidentiality, ToM scale, Cognitive Development, Language.