I am familiar with studies in which children are tested for theory of mind. In one such experiment, a story is told: Betty is playing with her doll in the bedroom. Then she has to go to school, so she leaves the doll on her bed. While she is at school, her mom takes the doll and puts it on the kitchen counter. When Betty gets home, where will she look for the doll?

The correct answer is obviously "On the bed", because that's where she last saw the doll. But if the child says "On the kitchen counter", he or she does not yet possess a theory of mind - he or she doesn't understand that Betty doesn't know everything that her mother knows, and has no way of knowing that the doll was moved while Betty was at school.

If I'm not mistaken, children normally develop theory of mind around the age of 4 or 5. But are there any conditions or disorders unrelated to intelligence that might prevent an adult from possessing a "normal" theory of mind?

  • $\begingroup$ May be off topic...: I wouldn't be so sure of Betty doesn't know everything that her mother knows. My child sometimes knows more than the logic in your answer allows. I am aiming at telepathy/remote viewing like experiences. Where my 1,5 year old turns towards our house, blocks away, out of sight. Waves with his hand and says "bye mommy". I tell him mama is home, 10 secs later I get a call from my wife that she is out for a walk with our newborn which she hadn't done alone before.... $\endgroup$ – Mike de Klerk Aug 31 '15 at 9:25

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