Applied Developmental Theory: PDF OnlyChildren's Theory of Mind How Young Children Come To Understand That People Have Thoughts and FeelingsAstington, Janet Wilde PhD1; Barriault, Terri MA2Author Information 1Professor 2Doctoral Candidate Institute of Child Study Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada Infants & Young Children: January 2001 - Volume 13 - Issue 3 - p 1-12 Free Abstract Children's theory of mind underlies their ability to explain and predict human behavior by taking into account a person's thoughts and feelings. It develops in the first 5 years of life, beginning with joint attention in infancy. The 3-year-old child understands that there is a difference between thoughts in the mind and things in the world and is aware of people's wants, feelings, and perceptions. The 5-year-old child understands false belief, and realizes that thoughts in the mind may not be true. Some recent work investigated individual differences in theory-of-mind development, showing antecedents of false-belief understanding in general language skills, pretend play, and style of family interaction. There is less work on the consequences of typical theory of mind development, but a large body of work demonstrating the consequences of its absence, particularly in autism. The article discusses the implications of this new area of developmental research for clinical practice and describes a screening tool and a teaching manual. ©2001Aspen Publishers, Inc.