Seminar: Becoming a Mindreader: The Development of a Theory of Mind

Humans are supremely adept mind readers. Our daily interaction depends on accurately assessing what other people are thinking and feeling. In fact, much of what entertains us centers on the drama that surrounds what people think and know. Lies, deceptions, and mistaken beliefs are major plot devices in novels, plays, and television shows. This seminar will trace the development,from childhood to adulthood,of a "theory of mind", the understanding of our own and others' intentions, desires, and beliefs. Topics include the development of lying, the effect of language experience on theory of mind abilities, cross-cultural variation in theory of mind development, the challenge of theory of mind for autistic children, and the role of theory of mind in art and fiction. Observations at the Child Study Center (outside of class time) will be required.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 15

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors who have taken PSYC 207 and one other 200-level course, excluding PSYC 205, PSYC 250, and PSYC 299.

Instructor: Pyers

Distribution Requirements: SBA - Social and Behavioral Analysis

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered