- Post a brief summary of the article you selected. Provide a real-world application of the theory within your current professional area or one in which you have interest. Also, explain how the theory could apply to one or two aspects of your daily life. Be specific and provide examples.
Cognitive Theory of Mind discusses thinking about thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, intentions, while affective Theory of Mind involves thinking about and experiencing emotions, referring to oneself (intrapersonal) or others (interpersonal) (Vissers & Koolen, 2016). A good example of this theory in use is when evaluating children with Specific Language Impairment and how this impairment can cause them to have social and emotional difficulties in life. According to Vissers & Koolen it was found that children with specific language impairment (SLI) have several social emotional problems and both cognitive and affective areas of Theory of Mind are compromised.
In this study where children had SLI it was found that as a whole they are not nearly as developed as say the ‘normal child.’ Item such as grades, competence, assertiveness, peer social skills differ, as well as verbal skills and the likelihood of engagement in play (Vissers & Koolen, 2016). Not only can a difference be seen at school, but parents of these children have also noticed a difference at home, scoring them lower in areas regarding assertion, responsibility and cooperation (Vissers & Koolen, 2016). One behavior that was found to be one of the biggest issues in children with SLI was withdraw, and this can be understandable given the deficits in peer social skills, verbal skills and decreased overall engagement (Vissers & Koolen, 2016).
Another developmental disorder in development is also childhood autism. Similar in some senses to SLI, autism is a much more complex developmental disorder distinguished by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and behavior issues such as repetitive behaviors and a narrow focus of interest (Segen’s Medical Dictionary, 2012). Keep in mind that there are a variety of disorders within the autistic categorization like Rett syndrome (common in females), Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Pervasive developmental disorder. Given this information we will keep our focus on the classic autism, and how this disorder demonstrates the difficulty they have making social connections.
One keep point with autistic children is they tend to avoid eye contact in general, they do not actively hug, but rather passively accept physical contact and at times can even shy against it (Segen’s Medical Dictionary, 2012). At times they can become angry, or irritated when they are held, and can cry when picked up; showing the opposite of what typical children yearn for. It may seem to many as if autistic children have no desire or formed attachment to their parents (Segen’s Medical Dictionary, 2012). Verbal communication is minimal, if at all and some children may use only a few words at a time. Others may learn a vocabulary with many words only to lose those words later in time. Autism children find the social environment extremely uncomfortable, unreliable, incomprehensible and very unpredictable (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, Frith, 1985). Baron-Cohen et. al concluded, “we have demonstrated a cognitive deficit that is largely independent of general intellectual level and has the potential to explain lack of pretend play and social impairment by virtue of a circumscribed cognitive failure. This finding encourages us to continue with a theoretical framework which can specify the underlying connections between pretend play, theory of mind and social skills.” This finding meant that autistic children could not be categorized as mental retarded similar to children of Downs syndrome; however it was known that there was a specific deficit that could not yet be classified into a category…hence this theory.
Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M., &Frith, U. (1985). Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”? Cognition, 21(1), 37–46.doi:10.1016/0010-0277(85)90022-8
Segen’s Medical Dictionary. (2018). Autism.
Vissers, C., & Koolen, S. (2016). Theory of Mind Deficits and Social Emotional Functioning in Preschoolers with Specific Language Impairment. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1734. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01734