• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Theory of Mind

Theory of mind is the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of other people and oneself. It is generally used to refer to a stage-like development at the age of 4 years, when children start to understand belief. Until this age, children are good at predicting aspects of behavior. After this age, they become increasingly good at predicting other people's mental states. It is referred to as a theory because we understand people's thoughts and behaviors in terms of a set of mental state concepts, concerning beliefs and desires, and a set of rules relating these concepts to behavior and experience. For example, if I want a cookie and I think there is one in the cookie jar, then I will go to the ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles