Understanding that other people hold different mental states and that they may be changed is the core of persuasion. Thus, theory of mind (ToM) abilities are fundamental to generate persuasive arguments. To date, only the relation between false belief and false belief-emotion understanding and persuasion has been investigated, ignoring other advanced aspects of ToM. Moreover, the role of affective empathy in the engagement of persuasion strategies remains unknown. The aim of this study was to overcome such limitations. Elementary children (N = 142) were enrolled. An advanced ToM test, measures of affective empathy and verbal ability, and an assessment of persuasion, differentiated in self-oriented and hetero-oriented strategies, were administered to children. Results show that only ToM is a significant predictor of children's persuasive approach, after controlling for gender, age, and verbal ability. Affective empathy has a very marginal role in interaction with ToM only in the engagement of self-oriented strategies. Limitations of the study and educational implications in school contexts are discussed. Highlights: The present study investigates the link between persuasive behaviour, affective empathy and theory of mind. Through a cross-sectionial study, we find that mind reading abilities and affective empathy are linked to persuasive tactics as the result of a negation process. The adoption of more advanced persuasive strategies may promote positive social relationships and help to resolve conflicting interactions.

Lonigro, A., Baiocco, R., Baumgartner, E., Laghi, F. (2017). Theory of mind, affective empathy, and persuasive strategies in school-aged children. INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 26(6), e2022 [10.1002/icd.2022].

Theory of mind, affective empathy, and persuasive strategies in school-aged children

Lonigro A.;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Understanding that other people hold different mental states and that they may be changed is the core of persuasion. Thus, theory of mind (ToM) abilities are fundamental to generate persuasive arguments. To date, only the relation between false belief and false belief-emotion understanding and persuasion has been investigated, ignoring other advanced aspects of ToM. Moreover, the role of affective empathy in the engagement of persuasion strategies remains unknown. The aim of this study was to overcome such limitations. Elementary children (N = 142) were enrolled. An advanced ToM test, measures of affective empathy and verbal ability, and an assessment of persuasion, differentiated in self-oriented and hetero-oriented strategies, were administered to children. Results show that only ToM is a significant predictor of children's persuasive approach, after controlling for gender, age, and verbal ability. Affective empathy has a very marginal role in interaction with ToM only in the engagement of self-oriented strategies. Limitations of the study and educational implications in school contexts are discussed. Highlights: The present study investigates the link between persuasive behaviour, affective empathy and theory of mind. Through a cross-sectionial study, we find that mind reading abilities and affective empathy are linked to persuasive tactics as the result of a negation process. The adoption of more advanced persuasive strategies may promote positive social relationships and help to resolve conflicting interactions.
Lonigro, A., Baiocco, R., Baumgartner, E., Laghi, F. (2017). Theory of mind, affective empathy, and persuasive strategies in school-aged children. INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 26(6), e2022 [10.1002/icd.2022].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/405680
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