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THEORY OF MIND: AN OBSERVATIONAL REPORT Premack and Woodruff were the first psychologists who came up with the

concept and the word 'Theory of Mind' in the year of 1978 even though they were intending to test whether the chimpanzees had a theory of mind or not. Theory of mind is also considered an important theory in the focus of understanding a child's understanding of social relationships. Theory of mind could be simply defined as the capability to think about other people's mental ability and from that form theories on how they think. A person is said to have the mental ability to attribute different states like knowledge, intentions, pretentions, desires and so on and so forth for others as well as one’s self. This individual also recognizes that other have knowledge, intentions and pretentions which are way different from themselves. For children to have a theory of mind it necessary that they understand the fact that people other than them can have thoughts about others things not necessary the same as they think. Considering the aspects of developmental psychology and the socio cognitive development, children are claimed to start appearing a theory of mind from around them being a toddler to before their preschool years, which is approximately considered to be the age from one to four. It has been a stated fact after several researches that human infants do tend to show behaviors that are considered to be helpful for the development of theory of mind. As a stating fact this observational report prepared on Kyle would explain how these behaviors affect his theory of mind with the help of three predictors. The three predictors are given below providing examples from the observations and explanations regarding them. Joint Attention The development of communication patterns between children and their mothers is considered to be an important stage of mind as well as language. The most noteworthy among these development patterns is the founding of joint attention between a child and mother and the child’s understanding of reference. According to Collis and Schaffer (1975) it’s shown that the joint visual attention is common in the first year of life where the mothers and babies tend to look at the same objects. according to their argument it shows that mothers tend to follow their children’s line of regard in the first year whereas during the second year of life it would be the children who look up to their mother for the attention.

Example1 – “Furthermore, he held up his right hand with his index finger and thumb as though he was holding something invisible in between them and kept looking at his hand and then looking at me as if to say ‘look at me I can do this with my hand!’.I was extremely

And once the infant responds to the mothers physiologically or emotionally is up to the child and the response itself could be stated as a path towards development of theory of mind. Observation 2. Observation 2. And in Example 2 he is trying to gain attention from his mother. Observation 4. So she began playing her “laughing game” trying to get Kyle giggle with her. Kyle smiled and was responding with non verbal clues and finally let out a small ‘ah’ to indicate he was enjoying the game but didn’t laugh out loud. Infant responded directly through an expression or reaction provoked by the mother It is a stated fact that children’s have an essential motivation to interact with people in a social manner which is proved by Tronick in 2003. Kyle intentionally makes some noises to gain his mothers attention back to him rather than the object or person his mother was interested in. Kyle laughed at his mother the whole time he was being massaged as mother playfully spoke to him calling him a ‘chubby Michelin man’ as his thighs were so pudgy. As the observer was talking to the mother regarding some other things. He began to make raspberry noises and these were successful in gaining his mothe r’s attention.”(Lines 18-22. Kyle age 4 Months. Observation 1.4 months 2 weeks) Example 2–“As mother and I were talking about how sick the other two boys were. From this precursor of development it could be stated that the mother somehow wants to absorb a reaction from the infant. Example 1:. Kyle’s age.”(Lines 70-74.happy to see this new development and smiled back at Kyle. she imitated the noises and engaged in a conversation with him using raspberries!”(Lines 51-54. Kyle would look at me and continue to stare at the object/person that was talking to his mom.“Mother at this point still wondered why he was so quiet today and didn’t gurgle at all.“She then removed all of Kyle’s baby grow and then began to massage him with almond oil. And to show the joint attention the mother does look at the Kyle and imitates him on the noises which he made seconds before.6 months 11 days) In the first example Kyle is trying to show the observers a kind of development of theory of mind with the help of his limbs. 2 weeks) Example 2:. Kyle age 4 months 1 week) Considering example 1.67. it explains that the mother is somehow worried that her child is not as cheerful as always and to get a response from him she starts a game called the laughing game and . To my delight. Kyle’s age.”(Lines 64.

which is thoroughly enjoyed by Kyle and he is laughing throughout the massaging session. I could totally find myself in the place of the observer and observe from a total different perspective than I used to. And regarding example 2 it is clearly expressed that mother is preparing Kyle for a bath and is massaging Kyle for a better physiological growth. and in case if she doesn’t focus on him at the time of feeding he get curious as to what his mother is doing more important that looking at him. The whole of the report have been very useful and educational towards the development of theory of mind. From the observers point of view it could be stated that these precursors shown by the infant is a definite introduction towards the child’s theory of mind. Following are the example extracted from the observations. a teenager or an adult. Kyle age 4 months 2 weeks) This example says a lot about the child’s emotions. The above given report is explained with type of precursors which is important for the development of theory of mind along with an theoretical explanation followed by an example with an explanation from the point of view of an observer. Infantile emotions or reactions It is considered that even a child has emotions and reactions to whatever others do. Observation 2. I noticed that Kyle stopped sucking and stared up at his mum. where he expresses that he wants his mother to watch him while feeding.”(Lines 44 – 51. Example: “Halfway through mother got a phone call on her mobile phone and as she answered it. The phone call lasted a couple of minutes and Kyle didn’t suck the entire time and didn’t move the rattle either. As mother disconnected she told Kyle ‘you know just because I am talking on the phone doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating!’ I was intrigued that she had noticed this and then she told me how Kyle becomes quiet curious about what mother is doing if she is not focused on watching him as he is feeding. Emotions do play a role in persons’ whether he/she is an infant. In this particular precursor to development the emotions and the response reactions of the child is taken in to consideration. That itself is considered a way towards the development of theory of mind. .she does smile from Kyle and an ‘ah’ even though he is not in the mood to laugh out loud. From an observers point of view I quiet enjoyed doing the report and relating the three precursors have helped to get a better view in child development and theory of mind which have been really intriguing and enthusiastic.