Language, conversation, and theory of mind

Michael Siegal

in Marvelous Minds

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582884
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191702358 | DOI:
Language, conversation, and theory of mind

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This chapter examines the extent to which children understand how the minds of others work. In particular, do children at the age of 3 or 4 years living in countries as diverse as Britain and Iran display a ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) in understanding how the actions of other children can be predicted on the basis of beliefs and emotions that may be different than their own? Can this theory be expressed in children's reasoning independently of abilities in language? The discussion considers the parallels between language and ToM reasoning. Then, it examines how access to conversations with others supports ToM.

Keywords: Britain; Iran; theory of mind; children's reasoning; human language

Chapter.  8897 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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