Christopher Osterhaus

Christopher Osterhaus
Universität Vechta

PhD

About

38
Publications
4,111
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350
Citations
Citations since 2016
35 Research Items
344 Citations
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Introduction
I am a researcher in developmental psychology at the University of Vechta (Germany). My research explores how children’s thinking develops. I am particularly interested in the development of scientific reasoning, people’s ability to interpret evidence, and children’s social cognition. Personal website: costerhaus.com

Publications

Publications (38)
Article
Advanced theory-of-mind (AToM) development was investigated in three separate studies involving 82, 466, and 402 elementary school children (8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds). Rasch and factor analyses assessed whether common conceptual development underlies higher-order false-belief understanding, social understanding, emotion recognition, and perspective...
Article
Do social cognition and epistemological understanding promote elementary school children's experimentation skills? To investigate this question, 402 children (ages 8, 9, and 10) in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades were assessed for their experimentation skills, social cognition (advanced theory of mind [AToM]), epistemological understanding (understanding...
Article
People often have difficulty interpreting covariation data presented in contingency tables. The present study investigates adults' success and strategy use in interpreting covariation data as a function of two factors that may influence performance: symmetry and context. We hypothesised that symmetrical problems, which involve comparing two candida...
Article
Scientific reasoning is a crucial ability in modern knowledge societies. An increasing body of developmental and educational research shows that already primary-school children possess emerging scientific-reasoning skills. The Science-P Reasoning Inventory (SPR-I) is a novel classroom-based paper-and-pencil instrument that was developed to measure...
Article
Full-text available
Theory of Mind (ToM) and the structure of intelligence were investigated in 115 4‐year‐olds. Specifically, we asked whether children’s intelligence involves both general and specific aspects and whether standard ToM measures of false belief can serve as indicators of social intelligence. Psychometric intelligence and children’s domain‐specific unde...
Article
Full-text available
This 6-wave longitudinal study (2014-2018) of 161 German 5- to 10-year-olds from a midsized city and rural area in southern Germany (89 females, 72 males; predominantly White; mostly middle class) found that scientific-reasoning abilities first develop at 6 years. Abilities were highly stable, with the kindergarten score predicting 25% of end-of-el...
Article
Self-efficacy is an affective-motivational factor that strongly predicts academic performance. With respect to science competencies, self-efficacy is related to two subcomponents that are closely associated already in kindergarten: Science content knowledge (e.g., physics knowledge) and scientific reasoning (e.g., knowing how to conduct a controlle...
Article
Full-text available
Both theory of mind (ToM) and executive functioning have been related to children's academic abilities. In a longitudinal study with 112 children, we investigated the influence of these two abilities on children's math and reading performance at 7 years of age. We found that math performance was predicted by concurrent working memory as well as by...
Article
Although scientific reasoning is not a formal, independent school subject, it is an increasingly important skill, especially for student learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. To promote scientific reasoning effectively, it is important to know its influencing factors. While cognitive influences have been inv...
Article
Advanced Theory of Mind (AToM) refers to the age-related progressions in mindreading that occur in the development of theory of mind after the age of 5 years. Despite the growth in studies, AToM remains a conceptually slippery skill to test in youth and adults. To address this conundrum, this paper reports a systematic review of the literature on A...
Article
First-order theory of mind (ToM) development has shown to conform to a Guttman scale, with desire reasoning developing before belief reasoning. There have been attempts to test for internal consistency and scalability in advanced ToM, but not over a broad age range and only with a limited set of tasks. This 2-year longitudinal study ( N = 155; M ag...
Article
Full-text available
Are there categorically distinct parenting behaviors that differ between families with children with and without disabilities (mild intellectual disability [MID], deaf or hard of hearing children [DHH])? A study involving 719 children and their families assessed mothers’ responses to the Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire and children’s...
Article
Advanced theory of mind (AToM) has been associated with several socioemotional consequences, including loneliness. However, the empirical evidence for this relation is mixed, with some studies finding no significant associations. The present study aimed to replicate and extend previous cross-sectional work. Specifically, we investigated the longitu...
Article
Full-text available
This 5‐year longitudinal study investigated advanced theory‐of‐mind (AToM) development in 161 German 5‐ to 10‐year‐olds (89 females, 72 males). Core aspects of AToM developed nonlinearly, with children reaching a milestone at the age of 7 years, around when they attained the conceptual insight that mental states can be recursive. In late elementary...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigates the development of advanced theory of mind (AToM) among typically developing (TD) children, children with mild intellectual disability (MID), and deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) children. The 2‐year longitudinal study comprised three waves and included a large sample of children from Poland in middle childhood aged arou...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic variability is being discussed as a source of inter‐individual differences in Theory of Mind development. Previous studies documented an association between variations in DRD4 VNTR 48 bp, OXTR rs53576, COMT rs4680, and Theory of Mind task performance. As empirical evidence on these associations is sparse, we conducted a preregistered replic...
Article
Full-text available
Science competencies are considered an important 21st century skill. How this skill develops in childhood is, however, not well understood, and in particular little is known about how different aspects of science competencies are related. In this prospective study with 58 children aged 5–6 years, we investigate the development of two aspects of sci...
Article
First-order and advanced theory of mind (ToM and AToM), and their structures and relations were investigated in 229 children aged 5-8 years. ToM was assessed using 6 tasks from the first-order ToM scale, while AToM was measured using an 18-item battery (higher-order false-belief understanding; strange stories ; faux pas test; eyes test; interpretat...
Article
The control-of-variables strategy (CVS) is considered a hallmark in the development of scientific reasoning. It holds that informative experiments need to be contrastive and controlled. Prior evidence suggests that CVS is connected to the acquisition of science content knowledge. In a cross-sectional study involving 1283 high school students (grade...
Preprint
Full-text available
The control-of-variables strategy (CVS) is considered a hallmark in the development of scientific reasoning. It holds that informative experiments need to be contrastive and controlled. Prior evidence suggests that CVS is connected to the acquisition of science content knowledge. In a cross-sectional study involving 1,283 high school students (grad...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to correctly interpret data is an important skill in modern knowledge societies. The present study investigates adults’ ability to interpret covariation data presented in bar graphs. Drawing on previous findings that show that the problem context influences the interpretation of contingency tables (grounded and concrete problems are eas...
Article
Full-text available
Children's (advanced) theory of mind (AToM) has been related to numerous real-world social consequences, including regarding their feelings of loneliness. A recent study has shown that AToM does not rely on a single underlying ability, instead involving three distinct factors: social reasoning, reasoning about ambiguity, and recognizing transgressi...
Article
Early scientific thinking in kindergarten (6-year-olds) was investigated in a large study involving 227 participants. We investigated (1) whether individual differences across 3 scientific-thinking compo- nents (experimentation, data interpretation, and understanding the nature of science) are stable across children, (2) whether children’s increase...
Chapter
Basic scientific reasoning abilities in primary-school children have been documented in numerous studies. However, an empirically tested competence-structure model has not been developed, most likely due to the difficulty of capturing conceptual understanding in paper-and-pencil tasks. The Science-P project contributes to this research area by cons...
Article
Full-text available
The reluctance of children to revise their prior beliefs is a prominent phenomenon in the reasoning literature. One way to facilitate belief change is offering explanations, and this study examined whether highlighting (counter)evidence with diagrams leads to belief revision to the same extent. Altogether 134 preschoolers and second-graders (5- and...
Article
Full-text available
Experimentation skills are a central component of scientific thinking, and many studies have investigated whether and when primary-school children develop adequate experimentation strategies. However, the answers to these questions vary substantially depending on the type of task that is used: while discovery tasks, which require children to engage...
Article
Understanding the nature of science (NOS) is a critical aspect of scientific reasoning, yet few studies have investigated its developmental beginnings and initial structure. One contributing reason is the lack of an adequate instrument. Two studies assessed NOS understanding among third graders using a multiple-select (MS) paper-and-pencil test. St...
Article
The development of scientific thinking was assessed in 1,581 second, third, and fourth graders (8-, 9-, 10-year-olds) based on a conceptual model that posits developmental progression from naïve to more advanced conceptions. Using a 66-item scale, five components of scientific thinking were addressed, including experimental design, data interpretat...

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Projects (2)
Project
"Bridging the research-practice gap: Advancing evidence-based argumentation" Date: February 18th - 20th 2019, TUM School of Education Description: Evidence-based argumentation is a crucial skill in modern knowledge societies, where people (e.g. professionals, citizens, or students) need to solve complex problems, take far-reaching decisions and be able to defend these on the basis of sound arguments and evidence. Evidence-based argumentation is the skill to construct logical arguments that are based on evidence, and as such, is related to evidence-generation and evidence-evaluation skills, as well as to scientific reasoning. The REASON doctoral school invites young researchers to its 2019 Interdisciplinary Winter School to discuss how evidence-based argumentation can be advanced across different populations, including children, students, or professionals, such as physicians, teachers, or social workers. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.en.mcls.lmu.de/study_programs/winterschool2019/index.html
Project
The international doctoral school REASON focuses on interdisciplinary and collaborative research linking psychology, education as well as empirical research on learning in specific domains (e.g. medical education, mathematics educations or biology education). REASON projects investigate specific aspects related to scientific reasoning and argumentation, e.g. how children and adults process scientific evidence in different disciplines, the roles of emotion, collaboration and technology in scientific reasoning and argumentation, how domain-specific and domain-general aspects play together in scientific reasoning and argumentation, and how the development of scientific reasoning and argumentation skills can be promoted by instruction.