Review Article

The relationship of aspects of language and development of theory of mind in children


Background and Aim: The different studies in normal children and those with developmental language disorders showed the relationship between language and development of theory of mind (ToM). But, there is not agreement between authors about role of language aspects (lexicon, semantic, syntax, and pragmatics) in development of theory of mind. The aim of this review article was the study of relationship of aspects of language and development of theory of mind in normal children and those with developmental language disorder.
Methods: This study was a narrative review. The Persian and English published articles during 1995 to 2012 were searched from different websites [Cochreane library, Proquest, Springer, Ebsco, Sciencedirect, PubMed, Magiran and Scientific Information Database (SID)]. Keywords included theory of mind, language, syntax, syntactic complement, semantic, lexicon and pragmatics. Then, the titles and abstracts of the related articles about relationship between language and theory of mind were selected and studied.
Conclusion: The language is the most important factor and predictor of theory-of-mind development. Although, lexicon, semantics, pragmatics and general language were important in development of theory of mind, but most of the articles had stressed the role of syntactic complements (sentences with mental or communicative verbs) in its development in normal children and children with developmental language disorders. As syntactic complements are necessary prerequisites for development of theory of mind, particularly for false belief concept, it is predicted that focus on training these aspects in children with developmental language disorders can influence on both theory of mind development and language complexity.

1. Johnson KL, Nicol TG, Kraus N. Brainstem response to speech: a biological marker of auditory processing. Ear Hear. 2005;26(5):424-34.
2. Chandrasekaran B, Kraus N. The scalp-recorded brainstem response to speech: neural origins and plasticity. Psychophysiology. 2010;47(2):236-46.
3. Russo N, Nicol T, Musacchia G, Kraus N. Brainstem responses to speech syllables. Clin Neurophysiol. 2004;115(9):2021-30.
4. Skoe E, Kraus N. Auditory brainstem response to complex sounds: a tutorial. Ear Hear. 2010;31(3):302-24.
5. Johnson KL, Nicol T, Zecker SG, Bradlow AR, Skoe E, Kraus N. Brainstem encoding of voiced consonant--vowel stop syllables. Clin Neurophysiol. 2008;119(11):2623-35.
6. Krishnan A, Xu Y, Gandour J, Cariani P. Encoding of pitch in the human brainstem is sensitive to language experience. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2005;25(1):161-8.
7. Wong PC, Skoe E, Russo NM, Dees T, Kraus N. Musical experience shapes human brainstem encoding of linguistic pitch patterns. Nat Neurosci. 2007;10(4):420-2.
8. Ahadi M, Pourbakht A, Jafari AH, Jalaie S. Effects of stimulus presentation mode and subcortical laterality in speech-evoked auditory brainstem responses. Int J Audiol. 2014;53(4):243-9.
9. Krishnan A, Swaminathan J, Gandour JT. Experience-dependent enhancement of linguistic pitch representation in the brainstem is not specific to a speech context. J Cogn Neurosci. 2009;21(6):1092-105.
10. Salehi S, Jahan A, Salehi N, Moghaddam Salimi M, Ghaedlou L, Safari K. Voice onset time in Persian stop consonants. J Res Rehabil Sci. 2012;8(5):827-33. Persian.
11. Bijankhan M, Nourbakhsh M. Voice onset time in Persian initial and intervocalic stop production. J Int Phon Assoc. 2009;39(3):335-64.
12. Krizman J, Skoe E, Kraus N. Sex differences in auditory subcortical function. Clin Neurophysiol. 2012;123(3):590-7.
13. Karawani H, Banai K. Speech-evoked brainstem responses in Arabic and Hebrew speakers. Int J Audiol. 2010;49(11):844-9.
14. Burkard RF, Eggermont JJ, Don M. Auditory evoked potentials: basic principles and clinical application. 1st ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007.
15. Pickles JO. An introduction to the physiology of hearing: 3rd ed. Emerald; 2008.
IssueVol 23 No 3 (2014) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Theory of mind language syntax children

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Ziatabar Ahmadi SZ, Nakhostin Ansari N, Ashayeri H. The relationship of aspects of language and development of theory of mind in children. Aud Vestib Res. 2017;23(3):1-12.