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INTRODUCTIONThere are two primary views characterizing children's theory of mind (ToM) in infancy (for a recent review, see Rakoczy, 2022). First, many have argued that infants understand mental states and that this understanding is either innate (Baron‐Cohen, 1997; Legerstee et al., 2000; Leslie, 1987; Premack, 1990; Scott & Baillargeon, 2009) or in place within the first few months of life (Luo, 2011; Sodian, 2011; Vaish & Woodward, 2005). This view is sometimes referred to as mentalism. As evidence for their view, mentalists argue that young infants pass a range of ToM tasks said to tap an understanding of goals, knowledge and beliefs, and argue that they could only do this if they understood mental states (e.g., Scott & Baillargeon, 2009).In contrast, others have argued that ToM is acquired gradually through experience in the world. This view is sometimes called minimalism. A central claim of minimalism is that children have a rich exposure to patterns of behavior (regularities) in their environment that assists development of their ToM and that infants initially understand others’ behaviors but not their mental states (Perner, 2010; Perner & Ruffman, 2005; Ruffman & Perner, 2005; Ruffman, 2014; Ruffman et al., 2012). However, this claim has sometimes been criticized
Developmental Science – Wiley
Published: Nov 14, 2022
Keywords: mentalism; minimalism; theory of mind
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