Parenting and theory of mind


    • Miller, Scott A.,


Parenting and theory of mind

Scott A. Miller

Oxford University Press, 2016

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Parenting and Theory of Mind represents the conjunction of two major research literatures in child psychology. One is longstanding. The question of how best to rear children has been a central topic for psychology ever since psychology began to develop as a science. The other research literature is a good deal younger, though quickly expanding. Theory of mind (ToM) has to do with understanding of the mental world-what people (children in particular) know or think about mental phenomena such as beliefs, desires, and emotions. An important question that research on TOM addresses is where do children's ToM abilities come from? In particular, how do children's experiences shape their development? If we know the formative experiences that underlie ToM, then we may be able to optimize this important aspect of development for all children. The last 15 or so years have seen a rapid expansion of the literature on the social contributors to ToM, including hundreds of studies directed to various aspects of parenting. These studies have made clear that parents can be important contributors to what their children understand about the mental world. This is the first book to comprehensively bring together the literature on ToM and parenting, summarizing what we know about how parenting contributes to one of the most important outcomes in cognitive development and outlining future directions for research in this growing area.

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