Theory of mind (ToM) allows people to develop a clear understanding that they do not share the same thoughts and feelings with others. Bergin and Bergin (2019) observe that “there are dramatic increases of ToM in children” (p. 266). This is the case because during early childhood, children tend to develop certain foundational skills that help promote ToM. These skills, as described by the authors, include comforting a crying baby by bringing a blanket or even feigning injury to get sympathy (Bergin and Bergin, 2019). In a different study, De Oliveira et al. (2019) noted that ToM develop in children through observation and imitation of others. The authors further maintained that ToM play a critical role in social growth and development of children (De Oliveira et al., 2019). Similarly, theory of mind emerges as children learn to interpret thoughts and beliefs of others as well as attach meaning to behavior.
Moral Reasoning is concerned with how children reason about moral issues and laws. Baker and Liu (2021) defined moral behavior as “behavior that is intentional and a response to some sense of obligation” (p. 354). Cognitive development theory, as highlighted in Bergin and Bergin (2019) book, holds that children development advances reasoning about justice. Therefore, ToM contributes to moral reasoning and behavior by allowing an individual to comprehend thoughts, desires and intentions of others – it helps predict their actions. Similarly, the theory has a major impact on children between the ages of 4 to 5 years – children develop the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Overall, through ToM, children are able to difference between reality and thoughts in the mind and, in the process, shaping their behavior.
Baker, E. R., & Liu, Q. (2021). Moral reasoning and moral behavior: Intersections of reasoning with aggressive forms and functions in early childhood. Early Education and Development, 32(4), 534-552.
Bergin, C. C., & Bergin, D. A. (2019). Child and adolescent development in your classroom, chronological approach. Cengage learning.
De Oliveira, E., Reynaud, E., & Osiurak, F. (2019). Roles of technical reasoning, theory of mind, creativity, and fluid cognition in cumulative technological culture. Human Nature, 30(3), 326-340.