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Record identifier : 568738
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Wilson, Kelly Rae
Title and statement of responsibility : Attachment and mentalization: Thinking about others' mental states [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : Stanford University, 2009
Language of the Item : eng
Body granting the degree : Stanford University
Summary or Abstract : The ability to reflect upon the contents of other minds and to reason about mental states in light of contextual information has been the focus of research in developmental psychology for many years (e.g., Flavell, 1979, Wimmer & Perner, 1983). Interest in understanding individual differences in 'theory of mind' reasoning in adults has grown recently given its relevance to understanding normal (e.g., Ban & Keysar, 2005) and atypical development (e.g. Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, & Jolliffe, 1997). In light of convergent evidence, I hypothesize that the two dimensions of adult attachment, avoidance and anxiety, are related to the ability to (1) accurately identify others' nonverbal expressions of emotion and (2) reason about others' thought processes. Two studies assessed the relationship between attachment and the accurate identification of others' subtle expressions of emotion; accuracy for complex emotions was measured by the widely-cited Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (Study 1), and accuracy for basic emotions was measured by eyes items adapted from a well-validated set of facial expressions of emotion (Study 2). Results from Study 1--replicated in Study 2--suggest that attachment-related avoidance is related to lower accuracy in the identification of negative emotions. Avoidance was not, however, related to the accurate identification of neutral expressions or non-mentalistic inferences from the eyes (i.e., gender), supporting the idea that attachment is specifically relevant to the processing of affective information. Study 3 involved a novel task designed to measure the relationship between attachment and the kind of thinking about others' thoughts that adults naturally do in the absence of visual information. Results from Study 3 suggest that attachment-related anxiety is associated with the tendency to reflect on others' mental states when describing the reasons for their behavior. Attachment-related avoidance was related to poorer accuracy in understanding what others were thinking. The results of these studies highlight the importance of examining the role of attachment in the process and outcome of mentalization. The clinical implications of exploring attachment-related individual differences in understanding others' mental states are discussed..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Social psychology, Personality psychology, Cognitive psychology
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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