Abstract Recent evidence showed that it is possible to help children's Theory of Mind (ToM) development during preschool and middle childhood. This study aimed to promote advanced mentalizing skills in children attending Year 2 of primary school through a ToM training programme based on narra- tives followed by multiple-choice questions and conversa- tions about mental states. Participants were 49 children, aged between 7 and 8 years (Mage = 7.6 years; SD = 3.98 months), assigned to the experimental (27 chil- dren, 11 boys) or to the control condition (22 children, 7 boys). The two groups were matched at pretest for age, ToM, socio-economic background, reading comprehension, and executive functioning. The classroom-training pro- gramme was delivered by an experimenter in four sessions (each 50 min long). The ToM group improved ToM skills sig- nificantly more than the control group both in the practiced and in the transfer ToM task. Theoretical and practical impli- cations of our findings are discussed. Highlights • We developed and tested the efficacy of a training programme for improving theory of mind skills in children aged 7–8 years. • The ToM training programme was effective in promoting advanced ToM skills at school in children aged 7–8 years. • The study fits with the experiential-learning account according to which social and pedagogical experiences shape socio- cognitive development.
- conversations, mental-state talk, primary school, Theory of Mind, training