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Baby+World: Mind-mindedness across cultures

Baby+World is a PhD project to investigate the causes of individual differences on the practice of mind-mindedness across cultures. Yujin Lee is conducting this project to compare British and Korean mothers’ mind-mindedness.  

The mothers’ tendency to treat his/her infant as an individual with their own mind is called maternal mind-mindedness (Meins et al., 2001), and it predicts wide-ranging positive aspects of children’s development. However, little is known about antecedents of the practice of mind-mindedness, and there is only one cross-cultural study on mind-mindedness. Therefore, many parts of mind-mindedness in Asian culture are unrevealed.   

This project has two aims. The first aim is to investigate whether mothers’ empathy and reflective functioning (RF) relate to mind-mindedness, to shed light on maternal characteristics that may underlie the caregiver’s tendency to be mind-minded. The second aim is to explore mind-mindedness in two different cultures which are South Korea and the UK. As South Korea is collectivist country historically influenced by Confucianism, we expect Korean mothers to show a different quality of mind-mindedness compared to British mothers. The cross-cultural component of this research also makes it possible to investigate whether any observed relations between mind-mindedness, PRF, and empathy hold cross-culturally. These results might suggest effective ways to facilitate the practice of mind-mindedness across cultures.  

The UK study began recruiting in December 2017 and finished recruiting in April 2018. It involves over 60 British mother-infant dyads (aged 4 to 8 months). The Korean study started in September 2018 in Seoul, South Korea, and finished in January 2019.

If you are interested in this study and would like more information, please contact Yujin Lee.