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The Influence of Theory of Mind on Reciprocal Behavior in 3-6-Year-Old Children: The Mediating Role of Mental Time Travel and Empathy
  • Zimi Li,
  • Shuhan Yang,
  • Xiangkui Zhang
Zimi Li
Northeast Normal University
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Shuhan Yang
Yunnan Normal University
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Xiangkui Zhang
Northeast Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Reciprocity, which refers to a behavior in which someone returns goods as a consequence of having received goods beforehand. In the present study, we investigated whether theory of mind is linked to different type of reciprocity. Moreover, we explored whether mental time travel and empathy mediate the relation between the theory of mind and reciprocity. A sample of 202 children (63.9%girls, Mage=54.64months) participated in the study. The parents completed the empathy questionnaire, while the children completed the theory of mind, mental time travel, and reciprocity experiments. Results indicated that theory of mind was positively associated with different types of reciprocity. The relationship between theory of mind and different types of reciprocity was mediated by mental time travel and empathy. The implications of these findings highlight the significance of social cognitive abilities and emotional understanding in promoting positive reciprocal interactions among children.