Theory of mind and its development has been a significantly important—and challenging—topic of research in cognitive science for three decades. This review summarizes our knowledge of when and how children come to understand their own and others' minds, including the developmental timetable, old and new measures, and foundational skills in infancy. We review recent research on theory-of-mind (ToM) and learning, that is, ways in which children's understanding of other minds informs how they learn about the world, as well as evidence for an important role of domain-general cognitive skills (executive function) in the development of ToM, and the neural networks that are most strongly implicated. Finally, we propose future directions for research in this vast and growing field. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:391–402. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1232
The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
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