The influence of gender, language and theory of mind on social competence.
Koey, Xiu Min.
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social competence is an overarching construct encompassing social skills necessary for the formation of adequate social relationships (Merrell, 2008). This study examined how gender, language, and Theory of Mind (ToM) relate to the development of social competence of 5-year-old Singaporean preschool children against three factors, i.e. gender, language, Theory of Mind (ToM). Thirty 56- to 68-months-old children were given measures of their language ability and ToM understanding. Each child was also assessed for a measure of their social competence through a naturalistic observation procedure to determine its relationship with the three factors. It was found that gender had the greatest effect on social competence beyond the effects of age. In particular, boys generally exhibited more negative social behaviors and less pro-social behaviors as compared to girls. The current study failed to find any correlation between language and social competence, or ToM and social competence. These results offer insights on the influence of gender on social competence and suggest the significance of identifying important contributors to the development of children’s social competence in the multicultural context of Singapore.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University