It is a matter of debate whether the development of theory of mind (ToM) depends on linguistic development or is, rather, an expression of cognitive development. The study of genetic syndromes, which are characterized by intellectual impairment as well as by different linguistic profiles, may provide useful information with respect to this issue. The present study compares indicators of ToM in the narrative production of individuals with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and typically developing children, matched on sex and mental age. Statistical comparisons of data obtained from a qualitative analysis of the narrative production of the different groups confirm the presence of distinctive patterns, mainly related to the effective use of personal pronouns. The analysis of correlations among story-telling variables and other cognitive and linguistic variables suggests that the relationship between language development, cognitive development, and the emergence of ToM cannot be reduced to unidirectional causal links.
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