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Egocentrism

Egocentrism is a social cognitive construct that describes the ability to assume or understand another person’s perspective. Egocentric thinkers have difficulty differentiating between their own subjective experience of the world and that which exists in objective reality or in the experiences of others. Unsurprisingly, egocentrism can and does have real consequences in social, legal, medical, and political contexts. The egocentrism construct relates closely to theory of mind (ToM)—the ability to understand that others have beliefs, desires, knowledge, and perspectives that differ from one’s own. Although there are other conceptions of egocentrism (e.g., narcissism, egotism, self-interest), the focus of this entry is on the construct as it relates to ToM.

Egocentrism and ToM are at the core of childhood cognitive development and continue to develop and change ...

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