Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Margaret Fish

Second Advisor

Martin J. Amerikaner

Third Advisor

Marianna Footo-Lintz

Fourth Advisor

Marc Lindberg


This study, as part of longitudial Rural Appalachian Infant Temperament Project, investigated social cognition in a group of 10 and 11 year old children. We looked at two aspects of social cognition 1) the extent to which children could generate two different explanations for the behavior of others (perspective-taking) and 2) children's interpretations of the reasons for the behaviors of others. We established a measure of social cognition, based on the earlier work of Dodge & Frame(1982), that asked children to explain the reasons for the behavior of others as presented in six hypothetical situations. Children were also asked to report how they would respond to the situation. Preliminary analyses indicated that most children demonstrated perspective-taking, as we had defined it, and they typically gave non-hostile explentaions for their behavior of others. With further analysis, we found children's early language ability, the responsiveness of mothers to their young children, and children's current feelings of self-worth to be significant predictors of social cognition. Correlations showed that as children's initial hostile explanations became more frequent their mothers' ratings of their aggressive behaviors also increased. Interestingly, teachers' reports did not show this same significant relation. Self-reports showed that children who frequently gave initial hostile explanations increasingly reported the experience of relational aggression and social rejection. These results have theoretical and practical implications, and importantly, it encourages the further investigation of social cognition in this relatively understudied population.


Social perception in children - Appalachian Region.


Social psychology - Appalachian Region.