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Theory of Mind, Affective Empathy, and Academic Achievement: A Correlative Study of Children in Grades 4 to 6
Adam Knowlson (author)David Carter (thesis supervisor)Ken Pudlas (second reader)Lily Dyson (external examiner)Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
Educational Studies - Special Education
Scholars have posited that educating the “whole child,” includes teaching both social emotional learning (SEL) and academics. This study analyzed the relationship between two constructs of the social awareness SEL competency, theory of mind (ToM) and affective empathy, with academic achievement. Thirty-six participants in grades 4 to 6 from a public elementary school in British Columbia completed assessments of ToM and affective empathy, and results were compared with academic achievement. Multiple regression analysis revealed that neither ToM, nor affective empathy correlated with academic achievement in the total sample. In females, academic achievement positively correlated with ToM, B = .05, p = .04, as measured by interpretation of ambiguous stories (Bosacki, 1998). In males, academic achievement positively correlated with ToM, B = .06, p = .02, as measured by an eyes test (Baron-Cohen, Wheelright, Spong, Scahill, & Larson, 2001). Lastly, both measures of ToM positively correlated with affective empathy.
Social learning.Affective education.Philosophy of mind in children.Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test.