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While social cognition has traditionally been measured with lab tasks (e.g., Carpenter, et al., 1998), recently, Tahiroglu et al (2014) have developed the
Children's Social Understanding Scale for 3- to 5-year-olds. They found parents reliably report socio-cognitive development. To examine earlier
socio-cognitive development, we have created a parent-report measure of social cognition from birth to 3 years, the Early Social Cognition Scale (ESCS).
In study 1 (exploratory, N=230) parents of 0- to 47-month-olds completed the 23-question ESCS online. Questions determined children's level of social
cognition, e.g., "Does your child follow where you point to look at the same things as you?" and, "Does your child understand what it means for others to
make mistakes? E.g., that they dropped a plate by accident." One item did not correlate with the total score, "Does your child like to look at faces?"
since it was at ceiling, so was dropped. The remaining 22 items correlated with the total score with Spearman's rho>.3, p<.05. Scale reliability was
excellent, KR20=0.95. The ESCS correlated strongly with age, Pearson's r=0.86, p<.001.
In study 2 (confirmatory, N=228), scale reliability was again excellent, KR20=0.93, and again, the ESCS correlated strongly with age, Pearson's
A subset of children from the above studies were tested for test-retest reliability. Children (N=48) had similar scores 6 months later, Pearson's
r=0.56, p<.001, df=45, controlling for age. Children (N=24) also had similar scores 12 months later, Pearson's r=0.66, p=.001, df=21, controlling for age.
A subset of children from the above studies were tested for inter-observer agreement by having both parents separately complete the ESCS. Both
parents gave similar scores to children (N=32), Pearson's r=0.85, p<.001, df=29, controlling for age.
The final stage will involve comparing the ESCS to lab tasks for 84 children.