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Psychological Concepts - Theory of Mind by psychegames2

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The phrase theory of mind can be used in several ways. There are the specific theories of mind attributable to individuals.

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									                       Psychological Concepts - Theory of Mind

The phrase theory of mind can be used in several ways.

There are general categories of theories of mind. There are the specific theories of mind
attributable to individuals. In recent years, the phrase "Theory of mind" has commonly been used
(following the paper "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?" by David Premack and G.
Woodruff, 1978) to refer to a specific cognitive capacity: the ability to understand that others
have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.

General categories of theories of mind:

In functionalist theories in psychology, functionalists like Georges Rey explore computational
theories of mind that are independent of the physical instantiation of any particular mind. In
brain-mind identity theories, biologists like Gerald Edelman are concerned with the details of
how brain activity produces mind and work within the confines of the identity theory of mind

Theories of mind attributable to individuals:

We can also talk about theories of mind produced by individuals, such as Brentano's theory of
mind. Georges Rey and Gerald Edelman were mentioned above as examples of people who deal
with different broad categories of theories of mind within which they have each produced their
own personal theories of mind.

As the title of Premack and Woodruff's 1978 article indicates, it is also important to ask if other
animals besides humans have a genetic endowment and social environment that allows them to
acquire a theory of mind in the same way that human children do. This is a contentious issue
because of the problem of inferring from animal behavior the existence of particular thoughts.
Each of us knows by introspection that we understand that others have beliefs, desires and
intentions that are different from our own and we infer that all humans with normal minds share
this cognitive ability. Researchers who have spent a great deal of time with non-human apes
tend to accept the likelihood that other apes like chimps also have a theory of mind. For example,
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh takes this position in her book "Kanzi". Others such as C. M. Heyes take
the position that we need not infer that chimps in the wild have any understanding of the mental
states of other chimps.

There is interest in the idea that certain learned behaviors such as human language behavior,
facilitate the development of a theory of mind in both humans and chimps. In the context of
language users, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (Kanzi, page 272) has described "theory of mind" as the
idea that "knowledge states of the speaker and the listener can in fact be different."

There has also been speculation that certain humans fail to progress through the normal cognitive
developmental stages that lead to acquisition of a theory of mind. In 1985 Baron-Cohen, Leslie
and Frith published an article called Does the autistic child have a "theory of mind"? in which it
was suggested that the human brain normally has a "theory of mind module" and that this
particular component of the brain may not develop normally in some people. With the advent of
brain imaging techniques, particular brain regions that seem to be important for theory of mind
have been identified. Further autism research by a team at University College London led by
Peter Hobson casts light on the crucial stages of infant development.

Autistic people often develop the theory of mind late, or not at all. However, some autistic
people claim that the theory of mind that they have developed is superior to that of a normal
person. The theory of mind that normal children develop appears to be that other people have
different knowledge from them, but process their knowledge in the same way that they would.

								
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