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      Development of theory of mind and executive control.

      Trends in Cognitive Sciences

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          Abstract

          Several recent studies have demonstrated a developmental link, in the age range of 3-5 years, between the acquisition of a 'theory of mind' and self control. In this review, we consider the existence of such a link in assessing five competing theoretical hypotheses that might help us to understand the nature of this developmental advance: (1) executive control depends on theory of mind; (2) theory of mind development depends on executive control; (3) the relevant theory of mind tasks require executive control; (4) both kinds of task require the same kind of embedded conditional reasoning; (5) theory of mind and executive control involve the same brain region. We briefly describe these theoretical accounts and evaluate them in the light of existing empirical evidence. At present, only account (3) can be ruled out with some confidence.

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          Most cited references37

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          Executive Functions and Developmental Psychopathology

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            Executive Function Deficits in High-Functioning Autistic Individuals: Relationship to Theory of Mind

            A group of high-functioning autistic individuals was compared to a clinical control group matched on VIQ, age, sex and SES. Significant group differences were found on executive function, theory of mind, emotion perception and verbal memory tests, but not on spatial or other control measures. Second-order theory of mind and executive function deficits were widespread among the autistic group, while first-order theory of mind deficits were found in only a subset of the sample. The relationship of executive function and theory of mind deficits to each other, and their primacy to autism, are discussed.
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              Three-year-olds' difficulty with false belief: The case for a conceptual deficit

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10461196
                10.1016/S1364-6613(99)01362-5

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