NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ858076
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2933
Theory of Mind: An Overview and Behavioral Perspective
Schlinger, Henry D., Jr.
Psychological Record, v59 n3 p435-448 Sum 2009
Theory of mind (ToM) refers to the ability of an individual to make inferences about what others may be thinking or feeling and to predict what they may do in a given situation based on those inferences. Discussions of ToM focus almost exclusively on inferred cognitive structures and processes and shed little light on the actual behaviors involved. In this article, I (a) selectively overview the literature on ToM, (b) suggest that the behavioral relations referred to by ToM scholars can be described and explained parsimoniously within the theoretical framework of behavior analysis, (c) argue that the verbal behaviors that define most ToM tasks are acquired as a function of the language environment of the young child, and (d) point out that B. F. Skinner (1945) proposed what amounts to a ToM more than 60 years ago. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mailcode 4609, Rehabilitation Institute, Carbondale, IL 62901-4609. Tel: 618-536-7704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A