The Theory of Mind

1391 Words6 Pages
Children are clever. They are not clever in the sense that they can tell is the square root of pi or write an award winning piece of literature at the age of 5, but they are immensely clever in their extremely rapid rate of learning from the day they are born. It is this rapid rate of learning that allows us to believe that children can begin to understand the minds of others and also themselves as young as 4 years old. This is usually referred to as the Theory of Mind, where a person develops the ability to connect emotional states not only to themselves but others, too and also to understand that others may have different intentions, desires or beliefs from themselves.

It seems fair to say that the more we begin to understand our own mind, the more we can understand the minds of others and it's at this point that we realise that our elders are not superior in knowledge, they're only superior in power, and eventually we gain some of that power and become equals. It is those who have achieved greater things in life such as Morgan Freeman who have the superior minds. But will we ever be able to truly understand a mind?? Yes we can define it, but do we understand it? How is it possible to expect this of a 4 year old?

If you ask a child around the age of 4, do others have minds, what would they say? It is the understanding of many psychologists that they would reply ‘yes’, that others have minds just as they do themselves. This may seem a fairly easy assumption for a 4 year old to make, but research suggests that children do not reach this conclusion before the age of 4, as according to Piaget, they are still in their egocentric stages of development and primarily concerned with themselves and their own minds, and find it imposs...

... middle of paper ...

...n relate to these experiences in life, and come to the realisation around the age of 4, that not only are they themselves individuals, but everyone around them is also an individual with their own mind.

Works Cited

Mcleod, S. A. (2010). Simply Psychology; Preoperational Stage.Retrieved 8 January 2012, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/preoperational.html

Wimmer, H., & Perner, J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception. Cognition, 13(1), 103-28.

Mitchell, P. & Ziegler, F. (2007) Fundamentals of Development: The Psychology of Childhood. Psychology Press, Chapter 4, Pp 56-57

Perner, J., Leekam, S. R. & Wimmer, H. (1987). Three-year olds’ difficulty with false belief: the case for a conceptil deficit. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5, 125-137.
Open Document