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[Xmca-l] Re: Dynamics of Developmental Change

David, Carol,

Why not attribute a theory of mind to infants?

First, because it seems extraordinary to suggest that infants are capable of forming theories. Piaget certainly never suggested that sensorimotor intelligence involved the forming of theories. Vygotsky argued that infants are incapable of verbal thinking, which would also seem to rule out the ability to form theories.

Second, because there is no reason to think that infants know anything at all about mental states such as beliefs and desires. Piaget didn't attribute such knowledge to infants. Vygotsky argued that children are not aware of their own 'interiority' until around school age, and if this is the case it is hard to see how they could know about the interiority of other people.

Third, the researcher responsible for identifying the phenomena of primary intersubjectivity, Colwyn Trevarthen, does not explain it in terms of theory of mind.