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Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind$
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Janet Wilde Astington and Jodie A. Baird

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195159912

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195159912.001.0001

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Introduction: Why Language Matters

Introduction: Why Language Matters

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Introduction: Why Language Matters
Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind

Jodie A. Baird

Janet Wilde Astington

Oxford University Press

This volume originated in a conference held at the University of Toronto in April 2002. Sixteen years previously, a number of the authors included in this book had participated in the Oxford conference “Children's Early Concept of Mind” and/or the Toronto conference “Developing Theories of Mind” that together, along with the publication resulting from the two conferences, helped to establish children's theory of mind as a new, lively, and important area of research in developmental psychology. “Theory of mind” became the way researchers referred to children's understanding of people as mental beings who have beliefs, desires, emotions, and intentions and whose actions and interactions can be interpreted and explained by taking account of these mental states. There is some information regarding the antecedents, correlates, and sequelae of the development of the theory of mind in both typically developing and special populations, particularly deaf children and children with autism. This book explores the role of language in theory-of-mind development and why language matters for theory of mind.

Keywords:   theory of mind, language, mental states, children, developmental psychology, beliefs, desires, emotions, mental beings

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