|Title:||The relation between verb factivity and theory of mind understanding in Mandarin-speaking children with and without autism spectrum disorder|
|Advisors:||Leung, Man Tak (CBS)|
|Subject:||Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations|
Cognition in children
Autism spectrum disorders in children -- Language
Children -- Language
|Department:||Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies|
|Pages:||xiii, 175 pages : color illustrations|
|Abstract:||This dissertation investigated the relation between verb factivity and first-order and second-order false belief (FB) reasoning in Mandarin-speaking children with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Four studies were conducted. The first two included a corpus study on the production of six factivity verbs and an experimental study on the comprehension of these verbs in Mandarin-speaking adults and typically developing (TD) children. The results indicated that Mandarin-speaking TD children were able to understand verb factivity at 4;0, however, their knowledge of it did not reach an adult-like level even at 7;0. In the third study, three factivity verbs, a factive verb zhidao 'know', a non-factive verb juede 'think' and a counter-factive verb jiazhuang 'pretend' were employed to examine the relation between verb factivity and first-order and second-order FB understanding in Mandarin-speaking TD children. The results showed that the TD children's understanding of verb factivity conveyed by the factive verb zhidao 'know' significantly predicted first-order and second-order FB reasoning when controlling for verbal mental ability, inhibitory control, working memory and complementation. Besides, complementation and working memory were significant predictors of first-order and second-order FB reasoning as well in TD children, respectively. Although verb factivity was not a unique significant predictor of first-order or second-order FB reasoning, it was the unique predictor that significantly contributed to both first-order and second-order FB reasoning, which suggested a specific role it played in the development of FB reasoning in TD children. The fourth study explored the relation between verb factivity and first-order and second-order FB reasoning in a small group of Mandarin-speaking children with ASD. A group of ten autistic children and a group of ten TD children who were both chronological age- and verbal mental age-matched (CA-VMA) with the autistic children were involved. The autistic children performed significantly poorer than the CA-VMA-matched TD children on the factive verb zhidao 'know' and the counter-factive verb jiazhuang 'pretend', and on first-order and second-order FB reasoning, but not on the non-factive verb juede 'think', inhibitory control, working memory or complementation tasks. This suggested a possible link between verb factivity and first-order and second-order FB reasoning in Mandarin-speaking children with ASD.|
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