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C O U R S E 
Introduction to Psychology
Steve Joordens, University of Toronto
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Theory of Mind
Notes taken on October 25, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
theory of mind
our ability to perceive what others seem to be perceiving
put ourselves in someone else's place and have a sense of what they are feeling
critical for social behavior
the extent that we can understand each other and behave in accordance with that understanding
orders of consciousness
first-order consciousness
person #1 has a sense of what he is thinking
second-order consciousness
person #1 has a sense of what person #2 is thinking
helps us to better predict what people may do
third-order consciousness
person #1 has sense of what person #2 is thinking about person #1
I can model you modelling me
when we are trying to surprise someone
e.g. valentines day: break the mold of how you usually act, e.g. do something especially thoughtful
False Belief Test
ask a three year old child what is in a box of crayons
child typically says crayons
they show the child that there are candles in the box
ask them again what is in the crayon box
they typically say candles
then they bring out a Snoopy doll from under the table and say that he has not heard anything that we been saying, what do you think Snoopy thinks is in the box
they will typically say candles
they seem to think whatever they know, everybody around them knows
have a difficulty with the concept that what I know may be very different than what other people know
between ages of three and five
the develop the ability to model the minds of others
begin to realize that their egocentric view of the world is not shared by everybody else
theory of mind
basis of people helping people
children comfort another child because they can feel their sorrow
just as she would want someone to help her just as if she were in that state
they don't have to help people but they do it anyway
we cannot help but share in the feelings of others
a knock at the door
someone says there is a wild animal attacking, open the door and let me in
you know that if you open the door that the attacking animal could get in as well
yet it is very hard to leave the person out there
you feel their fear
the only way for you to feel peace is for them to feel peace
in this way, the theory of mind, being able to understand how others are feeling, hold us together as a species and helps us survive
goes against some of our other anti-social tendencies
studies with animals
it can be argued that some animals have a rudimentary theory of mind
a chimp and experimenters
one of the experimenters likes Smarties
experimenter goes out of room
another experimenter moves smarties
chimp sees this
first experimenter comes back and goes to look for smarties
chimp knows this
chimp thinks this is funny because he knows that she knows that the Smarties will be gone
it is hotly debated if animals have theory of mind
but most researchers acknowledge that many animals can understand the minds of others
children with autism and aspergers
we use language but also many facial expressions and signs which we use to communicate
this overwhelms people with autism
they have trouble processing social stimuli
they don't gain the ability well to model someone else's mind