Theory of Mind Across the Lifespan

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Edited by: Daniel M. Bernstein

Series: Zeitschrift für Psychologie - Volume 36

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Theory of mind - precursors, lifespan development, expression, and in human-robot interactions

Theory of mind (ToM) - the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and to others - is known to develop from infancy, and to improve markedly in early childhood. What we don’t know is how ToM develops, changes, and expresses itself after early childhood and across the lifespan. The contributions in this volume aim to further our understanding in this field. They include a systematic review of longitudinal ToM research that identifies several precursors to ToM development, including cognitive abilities and behavioral experiences. There is also a look at the associations between age, executive function, and “life history ToM,” i.e., the recognition that prior life experiences influence how individuals think, feel, and make decisions about the future. In addition, human–robot interaction is investigated, as humans of all ages ascribe mental states to robots – the more human a robot appears and acts, the more “like me” we view and treat it.

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