Development and use of theory of mind in social and cultural context

Date
2022-12-15
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Source Title
Child Development Perspectives
Print ISSN
Electronic ISSN
1540-5834
Publisher
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)
Volume
17
Issue
1
Pages
39 - 45
Language
English
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Abstract

Theory of mind (ToM) is a key social-cognitive skill that allows individuals to understand and attribute mental states to others; it facilitates relationships and helps individuals navigate the social world. Thus, it is likely influenced by social and cultural contexts. In this article, we review studies that examine the potential ways through which sociocultural context interacts with the development and use of ToM in Western and non-Western societies. First, we summarize findings documenting the link between culture and timing of ToM acquisition. Second, we examine cross-cultural studies on how culture can be related to the sequential development of different dimensions of ToM. Third, we discuss when and how cultural group membership of the targets influences the use of ToM. Finally, we suggest avenues for research so the field can understand more comprehensively the dynamic interactions between sociocultural context and the development and use of ToM.

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