Theory of mind in normal development and autism

  • A. Schröder, P. Abrams (Co-Chairman), K-E. Andersson, W. Artibani, C.R. Chapple, M.J. Drake, C. Hampel, A. Neisius, A. Tubaro J
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Abstract

A theory of mind remains one of the quintessential abilities that makes us human (Whiten, 1993). By theory of mind we mean being able to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that cause action. In brief, having a theory of mind is to be able to reflect on the contents of one’s own and other’s minds. Difficulty in understanding other minds is a core cognitive feature of autism spectrum conditions. The theory of mind difficulties seem to be universal among such individuals. This paper describes some of the manifestations of this abnormality, and emphasizes how developmentally appropriate tests are needed in order to reveal it. Throughout the paper, the terms ‘theory of mind’, ‘mindreading’, and ‘understanding other minds’ are used synonymously.

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Authors

  • J.W. Thüroff (Chairman) A. Schröder, P. Abrams (Co-Chairman), K-E. Andersson, W. Artibani, C.R. Chapple, M.J. Drake, C. Hampel, A. Neisius, A. Tubaro

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