Do infants have a theory of mind?
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2011
© 2011 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Special Issue: Implicit and explicit theory of mind Guest edited by Jason Low and Josef Perner
Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 59–74, March 2012
How to Cite
Rakoczy, H. (2012), Do infants have a theory of mind?. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30: 59–74. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02061.x
- Issue published online: 16 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2011
- Received 23 December 2010; revised version received 12 August 2011
The central question debated in current research on infant social cognition is ‘do infants have a theory of mind?’ It is argued here that this question is understood and treated in radically different ways by different participants of the debate arguing either for (e.g., Onishi & Baillargeon, 2005) or against early competence in theory of mind (e.g., Perner & Ruffman, 2005). As a consequence, there is considerable talking past each other, both sides make claims that appear incompatible but are actually answers to different questions and framed at different levels of description. Some conceptual distinctions from the philosophy of mind are therefore introduced to describe the different interpretations of the question and the misunderstandings based thereupon, with the aim of providing some conceptual clarification as groundwork for future debates.