Ulf Liszkowski, Max Planck Research Group Communication Before Language, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Hamburg, Germany.
Using Theory of Mind
Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2013
© 2013 The Author Child Development Perspectives © 2013 The Society for Research in Child Development
Child Development Perspectives
Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 104–109, June 2013
How to Cite
Liszkowski, U. (2013), Using Theory of Mind. Child Development Perspectives, 7: 104–109. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12025
- Issue online: 11 MAY 2013
- Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2013
- action prediction;
- usage-based theory;
- false belief;
- prelinguistic communication
The ability to flexibly predict others' behaviors has been ascribed to a theory of mind (ToM) system. Most research has focused on formal conceptual definitions of such a system, and the question of whom to credit with a ToM. In this article, I suggest shifting perspective from formal definitions to a usage-based approach. This approach views action within human interaction as central to the emergence and continuous development of the ability to flexibly predict others' behaviors. Addressing the current debate about whether infants have a ToM, I illustrate how infants use flexible action expectations to interact with others appropriately. I also discuss the continuous development of ToM and its natural structure from a usage-based perspective.