Psychology: Theory Of Mind

Theory of Mind (ToM)

Children with autism are considered socially impaired. As described by the National Autistic Society, people with autism have difficulties with social relationships, with verbal as well as non-verbal communication, with play and imagination, and they display resistance to change in routine. This impairment, as frequently postulated, is that children with autism lack a Theory-of-Mind (Lee 2000). Theory-of-Mind or ToM is people’s common-sense knowledge about others and their own mental activities (Lee 2000). With it, one can read another’s mind or guess what he or she is feeling, intending, believing. ToM, a prerequisite for socially adequate behaviour, is also known as folk psychology or common sense psychology. The development of ToM normally takes place between three and six years (Lee 2000). There are two issues that development of ToM theories try to answer: 1) When and why do children develop understanding of the minds of others? 2) When and why do children develop the ability to distinguish appearance from reality? (lbid).
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