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Theory of Mind

Definition

Theory of mind (ToM) refers to humans' everyday mind reading. It is the commonsense ability to attribute mental states (such as beliefs, desires, and intentions) to one's self and to other people as a way of making sense of and predicting behavior. For example, your thought that “John thinks I ate his sandWich” reflects a basic understanding that John has internal mental states much like your own, though the specific content of those mental states may differ from your own (in this case, perhaps you believe that Mary ate John's sandwich). ToM is fundamental to everyday social life: Normally it is taken for granted that others have beliefs and desires and that they act in accordance with those mental states; furthermore, it is assumed that ...

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