Theory of Mind
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Mental state is a common characteristic of all mental processes activity degree at any given point in time. Every mental process has its own dynamics, and at the same time it differs from other processes. Mental state of a person is determined by the identification of the time of activity of one or another type of mental processes.
Theory of mind is the ability of a person to identify his/her own psychic processes and mental processes of other people. Early proto-social reactions are detected in children at a very early age of 6-9 months. The primary theory of mind has the idea that people have a mind that is arranged in a certain way, and out of these ideas the person can understand the behaviour of others and make assumptions for the future, and it forms between 3 and 4 years. Nowadays, the question about the mental models existence among the children younger than 3-4 years remains. Indeed, it is difficult to evaluate the system of internal representations of the child, not mastered yet sufficiently address. At the same time, there are many experimental methods for determining the ability of the internal representations among the older children and adults.
Having the mental model means to be able to perceive own experiences (beliefs, intentions, knowledge), and the experience of others, that allows to explain and predict the behaviour of other people (Newman, 2007). The most important aspect of theory of mind is its different perception of the subject as an intentional agent. In other words, it relates to the recognition of the fact that one's own mental state is not the same state of mind in comparison with another person.
The practical application of the theory of mind is going through the process of mentalization which characterises as the understanding of a foreign as objective reality and the inner subjective state, through the lens of mental processes.
Mental model, apparently, is a natural human ability, but its full development requires many years of experience in social interaction. Different people may develop to a greater or lesser extent as effective mental models. Empathy is a similar notion, which means the ability to recognize and directly experience the desires, beliefs, and feelings of other people, which correspond to the general use the expression "to get into someone else's skin."
In order to understand the theory of mind, the article “Are You There God? It's Me, Brain” that was written by Jesse Bering should be reviewed. The main idea of the article is to discuss the theory of mind practices, its examples and to show how the theory relates to the understanding the existence of God in the brain activity as a result of socialisation and mentalization of the person. The article gives good example of what theory of mind is and how it is related to the day-to-day life of the person. This is discussed through the understanding of the film “Le Ballon Rouge”. Here it is explained what was the role of the balloon in the life of joyful boy and how his behaviour is determined by the stage of his socialisation development.
However, the main limitation of the article is in the relationship of the God existence with the brain activity. The purpose of any theory development is its impact on the people’s perception of any metaphysic and philosophical idea. However, the discussed article gives the answer of the God’s existence very specifically. The author forgets about other theories and opinions about the God and still does not give any strict and undeniable arguments in order to support the topic. After reading the article, it occurs the strict understanding that the belief in God is low grade type of schizophrenia.
Theory of mind is still rather discussable topic and its proposals may be applied to the understanding of person’s socialization problems.