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Child Development Research
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8724562, 7 pages
Research Article

Adults’ Theory of Infants’ Mind: A Comparison between Parents and Nonparents

1National Institute for Educational Policy Research, 3-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8951, Japan
2Department of Education, Kyoto University, Yoshidahoncho, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Ikuko Shinohara

Received 2 August 2016; Revised 12 November 2016; Accepted 28 December 2016; Published 26 January 2017

Academic Editor: Elena Nicoladis

Copyright © 2017 Ikuko Shinohara and Yusuke Moriguchi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined whether there were parental state differences in interpretations of infants’ behaviours as associated with some mental states. Parents, nonparent women, and nonparent men were shown video clips that displayed several infant behaviours (e.g., playing with his/her mother). Then they were given two tasks. In a rating task, participants were asked to rate the likelihood of the filmed infant to have a mental state. On the other hand, in a description task, participants were instructed to explicitly describe the filmed infants’ mental state in an open-ended manner. Importantly, all participants were asked to report the meaning of infants’ behaviour in specific acts from the same set of infants’ behaviours (e.g., the infants saw mother’s face and smiled). The results revealed that parents and nonparent women significantly higher rated that infants were likely to express a mental state in the rating task than nonparent men did. On the other hand, parents were more likely to describe the filmed infants’ mental states in the description task than nonparent women and nonparent men did. Results suggest that parents interpret more meanings from infants’ behaviours compared to nonparents, even when both parents and nonparents equally focused on infants’ behaviours.