• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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. ...read more.

Middle

However these figures were based on parental reports and so are not completely reliable from a psychological perspective. When Baron-Cohen (1996) asked children to draw impossible objects, autistic children were reluctant to cooperate. In everyday play 'normal' children use objects by manipulation to be symbolic in their imaginative activity. However with autistic children, they prefer to play alone and display repetitive play with the object with a low frequency of pretend play (Baron-Cohen, 1987). This difference in play experience has implications for the development for a theory of mind. Through the imaginative play of children, it has been found that they express emotion which is linked to the theory of mind. Emotions are intertwined into social relations (Woodhead, Barnes, Miell & Oates, 1995) yet before the development of emotional understanding; the child must be able to empathise (Reber, 1995). 'Normal' infants are able to recognise facial expression of others by three months old and by two years they use emotional terms in their language. By five years old they are able to understand that there may be individual differences in responses to a single situation (Gnepp et al., 1987). ...read more.

Conclusion

If the chimp pointed to the right container in front of the second trainer then he would not receive the food but would if the chimp got the wrong container. It was found that the chimp would deceive the second trainer by wrongly pointing to the incorrect container without the food. This shows how the chimps have the ability to deceive others. Yet again, this could be due to operant conditioning or to the chimps having some social learning ability, but there is not the evidence to say they have a theory of mind to the extent of humans. In society there are certain unwritten rules which are expected from each individual; those aspects we are obtain by having a theory of mind. Those who do not fit in with these rules i.e. autistic people can be classed as abnormal and different. A theory of mind has been found in both humans and animals, but impaired in autistic children. Future work should help to spread awareness about autism and for others to accept autism into their society. More research into autism needs to be done which will help to find the underlying cause and to use this information to discover other social disorders which mean that the individual is unable to develop a 'normal' theory of mind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Self-Report Measurement of Adult Attachment: An Integrative Overview.

    For example, on the safe-haven touch subscale, all four attachment groups differed using the new measure, whereas Secure and Fearful groups were indistinguishable when Bartholomew's measure was used. We also conducted a series of simultaneous regression analyses to examine the ability of the two dimensions, Avoidance and Anxiety, to account for variance in the touch and sex scores.

  2. This study examined the differences in parenting practices and prosocial behaviour in children of ...

    understanding of another's emotional circumstances and is similar if not identical to what the person is feeling or would be expected to feel, while sympathy is an affective response that often stems from empathy and consists of feelings of sorrow or concern for the individual in distress or need.

  1. Parallel Language Development in Deaf and Hearing Children

    Deaf children of deaf parents are more similar to hearing children of hearing parents because the parents and child share a common form of language (Lane at al., 1996). Deaf children of hearing parents, on the other hand, have a more difficult time learning language because they typically will not develop the same natural language as their parents.

  2. Discuss, Compare and Contrast Piaget and Vygotsky’s Learning Theories.

    Rather, Vygotsky said that make-believe play has social origins. Society, he believes, provides the child with opportunities to represent culturally meaningful activities in play, and make-believe play, like other cognitive functions, is learned under the supportive guidance of experts. * THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE A main area Piaget and Vygotsky are both concerned about is the relationship between language and thought.

  1. Psychological and Sociological Perspectives On Human Development and Behaviour.

    A child will develop in several ways; there is physical development, cognitive development, intellectual development, emotional development and last of all social development we can sometimes refer to this as PICES or SPICE. When a child is developing physically, they usually like to do many things by themselves.

  2. To what extent do the grand theories take account of the role of social ...

    Keenan, M. (2004) âAutism in Northern Ireland: the tragedy and the shameâ, The Psychologist, vol. 17, pp. 72â5. 2. Keenan, M., Kerr, K. P. and Dillenberger, K. (eds) (2000) Parentsâ Education as Autism Therapists, London, Jessica Kingsley.

  1. Is Bowlbys (1951) theory of attachment still relevant in understanding how to support and ...

    With human infants the assumption that developed was that attachment behaviour has a biological function of its own which is quite distinct and independent of the functions of other biological mechanisms such as food intake (Ainsworth. 1969). The attachment system is thus considered to be of the several biologically-based and species-characteristic behavioural systems (Ainsworth, 1985).

  2. To what extent do the grand theories take account of the role of social ...

    Watson (1924) extended this to human learning in an ethically questionable experiment creating a phobia in 11-month-old infant âLittle Albertâ. The second process is Skinnerâs operant conditioning. It explains how behaviours are learnt from their consequences and shape future occurrence of that behaviour.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work