Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind

Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind

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"Theory of mind" is the phrase researchers use to refer to children's understanding of people as mental beings, who have beliefs, desires, emotions, and intentions, and whose actions and interactions can be interpreted and explained by taking account of these mental states. The gradual development of children's theory of mind, particularly during the early years, is by now well described in the research literature. What is lacking, however, is a decisive explanation of how children acquire this understanding. Recent research has shown strong relations between children's linguistic abilities and their theory of mind. Yet exactly what role these abilities play is controversial and uncertain. The purpose of this book is to provide a forum for the leading scholars in the field to explore thoroughly the role of language in the development of the theory of mind. This volume will appeal to students and researchers in developmental and cognitive psychology.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 154.9 x 233.7 x 22.9mm | 589.68g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous figures and tables
  • 0195159918
  • 9780195159912
  • 2,003,470

Review quote

Why language matters for theory of mind offers all the inspiration and a good deal of the background necessary for child language researchers to start contributing to ToM-language debate. * Child Language, Vol 33 *show more

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Why Language Matters ; 2. Language pathways into the community of minds ; 3. Communication, relationships, and individual differences in children's understanding of mind ; 4. Conversation, pretence and theory of mind ; 5. Talking about "new" information: the given/new distinction and children's developing theory of mind ; 6. The developmental origins of meaning for mental terms ; 7. Language promotes structural alignment in the acquisition of mentalistic concepts ; 8. Language and the development of cognitive flexibility: Implications for theory of mind ; 9. Representational development and false-belief understanding ; 10. Can language acquisition give children a point of view? ; 11. What does "that" have to do with point of view? Conflicting desires and "want" in German ; 12. Linguistic communication and social understanding ; 13. The role of language in theory-of-mind development: What deaf children tell us ; 14. How language facilitates the acquisition of false-belief understanding in children with autism ; 15. Genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in language and theory of mind: Common or distinct?show more

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