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How do children develop a Theory of Mind? You will need to discuss the kinds of knowledge, experiences and understanding that children need in order to acquire this skill.

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  • Essay length: 2106 words
  • Submitted: 03/09/2009
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University Degree Developmental Psychology

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How do children develop a Theory of Mind? You will need to discuss the kinds of knowledge, experiences and understanding that children need in order to acquire this skill.

Theory of mind is defined as the ability of normal children to attribute mental states (e.g. desires, intentions, beliefs, understanding...) to themselves and others, (Homer & Lee, 1999). They must make sense of these attributes, in themselves and others, and this will enable them to predict behaviour of others. From research gathered it has been possible to pin point what a child needs in order to acquire a theory of mind. Clearly, to develop a theory of mind a child needs the experience of social interactions through which they can develop knowledge and understanding of their own thoughts and feelings and those of others. By 18 months children develop self-metarepresentation (Lewis & Brooks-Gunn, 1979). For example, a mother puts a spot of chocolate on the child's nose and place them in front of a mirror. By two years children are able to recognise the image is of themselves and they reach for their own nose. By eight months, children begin to understand that their gestures activate a response

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