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When (and How) Is Theory of Mind Useful? Evidence from Life-Span Research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451012 Year: Pages: 182 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-101-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Theory of Mind (ToM) or mentalization is the ability to understand and foresee the behavior referring to one’s own and others’ mental states (Premack & Woodruff, 1978; Wimmer & Perner, 1983). This capacity, which is considered the most representative mechanism of social cognition, is a multifaceted set of competences liable to influence – and be influenced by – a manifold of psychosocial aspects. Studies on typical and atypical/clinical development during life showed that ToM is frequently delayed (e.g. in deafness) or impaired in many clinical conditions (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease) and, on the other hand, may not be unequivocally a positive experience. It is therefore possible to consider the existence of multiple kinds of Theory of Mind. In fact, ToM may vary along a quantitative and a qualitative continuum. As for the quantitative dimension, the continuum is constituted by the fluctuation between high and low levels of ToM ability in different clinical conditions. Along this continuum, impairment can mean “not enough” ToM (for example in Autism Spectrum Disorder) as well as “too much” ToM (for example in Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder). The qualitative dimension – highly interrelated with the quantitative one - regards the shift between adaptive (e.g. prosocial, nice ToM) vs. unadaptive (e.g. antisocial, nasty ToM) mental states content. The issue is discussed in light of recent evidence from outstanding researchers working on typical and atypical/clinical populations along the life-span. Findings from the fields of psychology, neuropsychology and neuroscience enrich the research topic argumentation.

Keywords

Theory of Mind --- typical --- clinical --- neural --- life-span

Evolutionary Theory: Fringe or Central to Psychological Science

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199204 Year: Pages: 62 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-920-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The computational theory of mind, which views the brain as an information processor that operates on cognitive representations, is central to modern cognitive psychology and is the dominant perspective from which brain function is conceptualized and studied. Evolutionary Psychology (EP) is the application of evolutionary theory to understanding human behaviour and cognition. Unlike other core Psychology topic areas (such as Personality, Learning or Developmental Psychology), however, EP is not defined by the subset of psychological phenomena it seeks to describe and understand. It is instead defined by a specific meta-theoretical perspective, from which it seeks to (potentially) explain all psychological phenomena. The central question posed by this volume is whether this over-arching nature provides an opportunity for evolutionary approaches to offer an alternative meta-theoretical perspective to the information processing / representational view of brain function and behavior.

Context in Communication: A Cognitive View

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451425 Year: Pages: 242 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-142-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Context is what contributes to interpret a communicative act beyond the spoken words. It provides information essential to clarify the intentions of a speaker, and thus to identify the actual meaning of an utterance. A large amount of research in Pragmatics has shown how wide-ranging and multifaceted this concept can be. Context spans from the preceding words in a conversation to the general knowledge that the interlocutors supposedly share, from the perceived environment to features and traits that the participants in a dialogue attribute to each other. This last category is also very broad, since it includes mental and emotional states, together with culturally constructed knowledge, such as the reciprocal identification of social roles and positions. The assumption of a cognitive point of view brings to the foreground a number of new questions regarding how information about the context is organized in the mind and how this kind of knowledge is used in specific communicative situations. A related, very important question concerns the role played in this process by theory of mind abilities (ToM), both in typical and atypical populations. In this Research Topic, we bring together articles that address different aspects of context analysis from theoretical and empirical perspectives, integrating knowledge and methods derived from Philosophy of language, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental and Clinical Psychology.Context is what contributes to interpret a communicative act beyond the spoken words. It provides information essential to clarify the intentions of a speaker, and thus to identify the actual meaning of an utterance. A large amount of research in Pragmatics has shown how wide-ranging and multifaceted this concept can be. Context spans from the preceding words in a conversation to the general knowledge that the interlocutors supposedly share, from the perceived environment to features and traits that the participants in a dialogue attribute to each other. This last category is also very broad, since it includes mental and emotional states, together with culturally constructed knowledge, such as the reciprocal identification of social roles and positions. The assumption of a cognitive point of view brings to the foreground a number of new questions regarding how information about the context is organized in the mind and how this kind of knowledge is used in specific communicative situations. A related, very important question concerns the role played in this process by theory of mind abilities (ToM), both in typical and atypical populations. In this Research Topic, we bring together articles that address different aspects of context analysis from theoretical and empirical perspectives, integrating knowledge and methods derived from Philosophy of language, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental and Clinical Psychology.

Mental State Understanding: Individual Differences in Typical and Atypical Development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452682 Year: Pages: 203 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-268-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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The current book addresses the development of mental state understanding in children with typical and atypical population, and reports new suggestions about the way to evaluate it and to support it through training. The presented frame is multifaceted. In respect to typical populations, the role of maternal reflective functioning, language, communication, and educational contexts has been deepened; and the association with internalizing/externalizing behaviors, performances in spatial tasks and pragmatics has been addressed as well. As to atypical populations, deficits in mental states understanding are reported for children with different developmental disorders or impairments, as the agenesis of the corpus callosum, Down Syndrome, preterm birth, Autism Spectrum Disorder, hearing impairment and personality difficulties such as anxiety. Overall, the papers collected in our book allow a better understanding of the mechanisms influencing mental state understanding and the effects of mental state comprehension on development.

Updates in Pediatric Sleep and Child Psychiatry

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ISBN: 9783038979388 / 9783038979395 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03897-939-5 Language: eng
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Pediatrics
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-26 08:44:06
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Sleep-related symptoms are common in the majority of psychiatric diagnostic categories. The overlap of sleep and psychiatric disorders have been demonstrated in numerous studies. The understanding of sleep and child psychiatry has progressively evolved in the last decade and newer insights have developed regarding the complex interaction between sleep and psychopathology. This collection of articles represents updates on sleep and psychiatric disorders with medical and neurological co-morbidities in children and adolescents.

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