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Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind

Janet Wilde Astington and Jodie A. Baird


“Theory of mind” is the phrase researchers use to refer 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. The gradual development of children's theory of mind, particularly during the early years, is by now well described in the research literature. What is lacking, however, is a decisive explanation of how children acquire this understanding. Recent research has shown strong relations between children's linguistic abilities an ... More

Keywords: theory of mind, children, beliefs, desires, emotions, intentions, actions, interactions, mental states, development

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780195159912
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195159912.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Janet Wilde Astington, editor
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Jodie A. Baird, editor
Villanova University

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1 Introduction: Why Language Matters

Jodie A. Baird, and Janet Wilde Astington

9 Representational Development and False-Belief Understanding

Janet Wilde Astington, and Jodie A. Baird

12 Linguistic Communication and Social Understanding

Heidemarie Lohmann, Michael Tomasello, and Sonja Meyer