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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter begins with an explanation of key foundational concepts in theory of mind, such as mental representation and false belief. We then discuss the history and current broad scope of the term, proposing a developmental-componential view that incorporates intuitive and reflective aspects of theory of mind. We continue with a comprehensive description of the developmental progression of theory of mind: from infants’ intuitive understanding of ordinary actions as reflecting others’ attention and intentions, through toddlers’ appreciation of world-inconsistent goals and preschool developments in understanding representational mental states, to school-age children’s mastery of an interpretative and complex theory of mind. We consider en passant individual differences in development, as well as atypical development, such as in autism. Finally, new directions for research are explored, in the areas of neurology, education, and deontic reasoning.

Keywords: autism, deontic reasoning, education, executive function, false-belief understanding, interpretive diversity, neurology, representational mental states, second-order mental states, social cognition, social perception, theory of mind: developmental progres

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