Essay about The Theory Of Mind And The Minds

Essay about The Theory Of Mind And The Minds

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Current research has suggested that until the ages of four, children are unable to recognize that other people’s knowledge are different from theirs because they find it hard to distinguish between reality and the beliefs and knowledge in their minds (ref). They think these are a representation of their current reality. Theory of mind enables one understand that reality can be misrepresented by the mind thus beliefs can differ from reality .The possession of theory of mind enables an individual influence the behaviour of others by manipulating their beliefs. In order to influence the behaviour of others it is necessary for individuals to be able to explain other people’s behaviour on the basis of their minds. In other words they need to have some idea of what is in their minds (Frith and Frith, 2005). Essentially, theory of mind is being able to explain other people’s behaviour based on their minds: their knowledge, their beliefs and their desires and understand that personal perceptions and objectives differs from that of others (Saxe, Carey and Kanwisher, 2004).
The development of a theory of mind is a cognitive ability which develops during childhood. As young children grow up they need to be develop an understanding of internal states such as beliefs, desires and perceptions. These internal states are very fundamental in predicting the behaviour of others and in the development of theory of mind in young children (GOPNIK and WELLMAN, 1992). Research has shown that even in infancy children seem to have some ideas how- ever ambiguous, of internal states such as beliefs, desires and perceptions (GOPNIK and WELLMAN, 1992). As a matter of fact, the psychological knowledge of two year olds seem to be largely structured around desire...


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...that it looked like an eraser, disregarding the cookie-like appearance of the eraser (Taylor and Hort, 1990). This suggests that the children aged three found it difficult to represent the same object or event in more than one way hence why they could not mentally represent the eraser as being both an eraser and looking like a cookie (Taylor and Hort, 1990) .This supports the claim that they have a limited understanding of mental representations and as such lack a theory of mind.
In conclusion, it can be established from experimental evidence provided by psychologist that by the age of four most children have develop a theory of mind however it would be inaccurate to conclude that the development of a theory of mind is conceptual or not conceptual as many psychologists have provided several experimental and theoretical evidence to support both sides of the argument.

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