Theory of Mind and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Childhood


Korkmaz B.

PEDIATRIC RESEARCH, vol.69, no.5, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 69 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1203/pdr.0b013e318212c177
  • Title of Journal : PEDIATRIC RESEARCH

Abstract

To a large extent, the human infant is socialized through the acquisition of a specific cognitive mechanism known as theory of mind (ToM), a term which is currently used to explain a related set of intellectual abilities that enable us to understand that others have beliefs, desires, plans, hopes, information, and intentions that may differ from our own. Various neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental language disorders, and schizophrenia, as well as acquired disorders of the right brain (and traumatic brain injury) impair ToM. ToM is a composite function, which involves memory, joint attention, complex perceptual recognition (such as face and gaze processing), language, executive functions (such as tracking of intentions and goals and moral reasoning), emotion processing-recognition, empathy, and imitation. Hence, ToM development is dependent on the maturation of several brain systems and is shaped by parenting, social relations, training, and education; thus, it is an example of the dense interaction that occurs between brain development and (social) environment. (Pediatr Res 69: 101R-108R, 2011)