Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind / Edition 1

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"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 and their theory of mind. Yet exactly what role these abilities play is controversial and uncertain. The purpose of this book is to provide a forum for the leading scholars in the field to explore thoroughly the role of language in the development of the theory of mind. This volume will appeal to students and researchers in developmental and cognitive psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...very interesting reading."--PsycCRITIQUES

"...this book offers all the inspiration and a good deal of the background necessary for child language researchers to start contributing to ToM-language debate."--Child Language

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195159912
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Toronto

Villanova University

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Why language matters: Introduction to the volume, Janet Wilde Astington & Jodie A. Baird
Chapter 2. Language pathways into the community of minds, Katherine Nelson
Chapter 3. Communication, relationships, and individual differences in children's understanding of mind, Judy Dunn and Marcia Brophy
Chapter 4. Conversation, pretense and theory of mind, Paul L. Harris
Chapter 5. Talking about "new" information: The given/new distinction and children's developing theory of mind, Danielle K. O'Neill
Chapter 6. The developmental origins of meaning for mental terms, Derek E. Montgomery
Chapter 7. Language promotes structural alignment in the acquisition of mentalistic concepts, Dare Baldwin & Megan Saylor
Chapter 8. Language and the development of cognitive flexibility, Sophie Jaques & Philip David Zelazo
Chapter 9. Representational development and false-belief understanding, Janet Wilde
Chapter 10. Can language acquisition give children a point of view?, Jill G. de Villiers
Chapter 11. What does "that" have to do with point of view? Conflicting desires and "want" in German., Josef Perner, Petra Zauner, & Manuel Sprung
Chapter 12. Linguistic communication and social understanding, Heidemarie Lohmann, Michael Tommasello, and Sonja Meyer
Chapter 13. The role of language in theory-of-mind development: What deaf children tell us., Peter A. de Villiers
Chapter 14. How language facilitates the acquisition of false-belief understanding in children with autism, Helen Tager-Flusberg and Robert M. Joseph
Chapter 15. Genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in language and theory of mind: Common or distinct?, Claire Hughes

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