Theory of Mind: Overview and Proposed Experiment Term Paper by Nicky

Theory of Mind: Overview and Proposed Experiment
A discussion of the theory of mind and the different schools of thought prevalent in the field.
# 146929 | 1,314 words | 4 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Jan 24, 2011 in Psychology (Freud) , Psychology (Piaget) , Psychology (Theory)

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The writer of this paper examines the theory of mind and the various theories expounded by a number of researchers and experts. After presenting an overview of the theory and its various schools of thought, the author then goes on to propose an experiment to specifically test the universality of a theory of mind.

From the Paper:

"A `theory of mind' refers to the ability to understand the mental states of others, and often implies that an understanding of what we call `the mind' is universal, although mental abilities may vary between individuals (Gauvain 1998, p.37). The degree to which a theory of mind is influenced by cultural factors remains a subject of fierce debate amongst scholars in the field of psychology. On one hand, it does seem as if there is a definite physiological component to this cognitive mechanism to understand the mental states of others. Cross-culturally, it seems as if the biological basis of being able to develop a theory of mind begins around age four or five, at least based upon existing literature. For example, Baka children, members of a hunter-gatherer tribe in West Africa, begin to understand that what they think or feel is not necessarily transmittable automatically to everyone else at this age, similar to Westerners (Gauvain 1998, p.38). Such a universal timetable thus suggests that acquiring a theory of mind on the part of children is comparable to Piaget's understanding of the developmental component to comprehending conservation of matter."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cole, M. (2005). Culture in development. In M. H. Bornstein & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Developmental science: An advanced textbook (5th ed., pp. 45-101). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Gauvain, Mary. (1998) Culture, development, and Theory of Mind: Comment on Lillard. Psychological Bulletin. 123. 1: 37-42.
  • Lillard, Angelina. (1998). Ethnopsychologies: Cultural variations in theories of mind. Psychological Bulletin 1998. 123. 1: 3-32
  • Lillard, Angelina. (1998). Ethnopsychologies: Reply to Wellman (1998) and Gauvain (1998). Psychological Bulletin 1998. 123. 1: 43-46.

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