How Psychology Is The Theory Of Mind

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People understand each other using cognitive skills, an example of this is mindreading. Mindreading abilities also referred to as the theory of mind (ToM) is acknowledging that other people have mental states, such as understanding that others have desires, motives, beliefs and intentions (Hewson, 2015a). This is generally an essential, undemanding skill for social interaction. Thereby, this essay will evaluate how psychology has helped to explain how people understand each other by firstly, explaining how different aspects of ToM have been studied. Additionally, Heider and Simmel’s (1944) study of geometric shapes will be explored to demonstrate how people interpret other people’s behaviour, even in animation. Subsequently, Autism…show more content…
Further research has compared the results of the false belief task with executive functioning skills. Executive functioning is the capability to allow people to manage their thoughts and actions. One such test that psychologists have used to measure executive functioning is the bear-dragon task (Carlson and Moses, 2001, cited in Hewson, 2015). Using two puppets the child has to ignore one and copy the instructions (for example, pat your head) of the other. This is said to test conflict inhibition, which is the capability to contain reactions to stimuli when it is not suitable to do so. Therefore, if the child failed on a false belief task, they would probably fail executive functioning tasks. Evidence has shown (Apperly, 2011 cited Hewson, 2015) that this seems to be the case, but language skills could also play a part in the child’s understanding of both false belief and executive functioning. It also has been argued that the child’s own knowledge or lack of knowledge guides their answer. Therefore, psychology has helped to explain different aspects of ToM abilities. Furthermore, it shows how it is difficult to measure ToM with one simple study. Furthermore, adult mindreading abilities have been studied by Heider and Simmel (1944). They devised a study to see how people’s tendency to understand other people’s behaviour can be evaluated through animation. This initiative animation was
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