Janet Wilde Astington is Professor Emerita at the Institute of Child Study, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, where she has held a faculty position since 1990.
Astington obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Cognitive Science from the University of Toronto (OISE) in 1985, after which she played an important role in the development of the field of children's theories of mind (ToM). She is author of The Child's Discovery of the Mind (Harvard University Press, 1993), which is published in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean translations and editor or co-editor of four other volumes, including Developing Theories of Mind (Cambridge University Press, 1988) and Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Astington’s research interest is in children’s theory of mind (that is, social understanding and self-reflection) with a particular focus on the role of language in theory-of-mind development. Her applied interest is in helping student teachers use theory-of-mind research findings in order to develop materials and approaches that engage children in mindful learning.
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Nguyen, T-K. & Astington, J. W., (2014). Reassessing the bilingual advantage in theory of mind and its cognitive underpinnings. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(2), 396-409.
Astington, J. W. & Hughes, C. (2013). Theory of mind: Self-reflection and social understanding. In P. D. Zelazo (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Developmental Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
San Juan, V. & Astington, J. W. (2012). Bridging the gap between implicit and explicit understanding: How language development promotes the processing and representation of false belief. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, Special Issue on Implicit and Explicit Theory of Mind, 30(1), 105-122.
Dack, L. A. & Astington, J. W. (2011). Deontic and epistemic reasoning in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, 94-114.
Filippova, E. & Astington, J. W. (2010). Children’s understanding of social-cognitive and social-communicative aspects of discourse irony. Child Development, 81, 915-930.
Astington, J. W. & Dack, L. A. (2008). Theory of mind. In M. M. Haith & J. B. Benson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of infant and early childhood development, Vol. 3 (pp. 343-356). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Filippova, E. & Astington, J.W. (2008). Further development in social reasoning revealed in discourse irony understanding. Child Development, 79, 126-138.
Milligan, K., Astington, J.W. & Dack, L.A. (2007). Language and theory of mind: Meta analysis of the relation between language ability and false-belief understanding. Child Development, 78, 622-646.
Astington, J. W. (2006). The developmental interdependence of theory of mind and language. In S. C. Levinson & N. J. Enfield (Eds.), The roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition, and human interaction (pp. 179-206). Oxford, UK: Berg.