Research Topic

Theory of Mind in Relation to Other Cognitive Abilities

About this Research Topic

Theory of mind and its development have been subjects of much research over the last 40 years. It is generally thought to be very important in cognitive and social development. However, there is still much debate as to how it should be defined and even as to whether it is a single entity. In particular, there is controversy as to the extent to which it should be seen as a specific cognitive module, or rather as dependent on, or mutually developing with, other cognitive abilities and characteristics, such as language, metacognition, executive function, and cognitive and perceptual styles that emphasize gist versus detail (‘strong’ versus ‘weak’ central coherence). It is also possible that the theory of mind itself has several different components, which may be related to different degrees different cognitive abilities and characteristics. Any relationships between the theory of mind and other cognitive characteristics may also vary with age, and may differ between typically developing children and those with autism and other atypical conditions.

Gaining a greater understanding of these issues is important to increasing our understanding of theory of mind itself, the nature of cognitive development, the similarities and differences between typically and atypically developing children, and whether it may be possible to devise interventions to improve theory of mind, either directly or by means of improving other abilities. The goal of the current Research Topic is to bring together articles on various aspects of the theory of mind and any concurrent and longitudinal relationships to other cognitive abilities and characteristics. These articles may involve studies of children, adults or both. It is expected that they will primarily include empirical research papers, but theoretical articles, literature reviews and meta-analyses are also welcome.


Keywords: theory of mind, language development, executive function, central coherence, typical development, autism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Theory of mind and its development have been subjects of much research over the last 40 years. It is generally thought to be very important in cognitive and social development. However, there is still much debate as to how it should be defined and even as to whether it is a single entity. In particular, there is controversy as to the extent to which it should be seen as a specific cognitive module, or rather as dependent on, or mutually developing with, other cognitive abilities and characteristics, such as language, metacognition, executive function, and cognitive and perceptual styles that emphasize gist versus detail (‘strong’ versus ‘weak’ central coherence). It is also possible that the theory of mind itself has several different components, which may be related to different degrees different cognitive abilities and characteristics. Any relationships between the theory of mind and other cognitive characteristics may also vary with age, and may differ between typically developing children and those with autism and other atypical conditions.

Gaining a greater understanding of these issues is important to increasing our understanding of theory of mind itself, the nature of cognitive development, the similarities and differences between typically and atypically developing children, and whether it may be possible to devise interventions to improve theory of mind, either directly or by means of improving other abilities. The goal of the current Research Topic is to bring together articles on various aspects of the theory of mind and any concurrent and longitudinal relationships to other cognitive abilities and characteristics. These articles may involve studies of children, adults or both. It is expected that they will primarily include empirical research papers, but theoretical articles, literature reviews and meta-analyses are also welcome.


Keywords: theory of mind, language development, executive function, central coherence, typical development, autism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

27 July 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

27 July 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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