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Thought-Bubble Training for Theory-of-Mind (ToM)

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The term Theory of Mind (ToM) describes the understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings that underpin everyday social life. A child who has ToM is aware, at some level, that the human mind is fallible.  Sometimes we make mistakes or say or do things that might seem odd to someone else because the thoughts and feelings we have in our mind are not always a perfect mirror of the objectives of the outside world.  We can forget things or be ignorant or misinformed about them. Or a child might be engaged in pretend place, or an adult in daydreaming.

To a child who has not yet developed ToM understanding, these kinds of situations can add distressing unpredictability and confusion to social life and can impair the ability to interact smoothly and cooperatively with others. Indeed, without basic ToM insight, it would be difficult or impossible for any of us to predict or interpret other people’s behaviour, at least in situations where a paradoxical action has been guided by the person’s ignorance, contrary desires, forgetfulness, imagination or a false belief.

Fortunately, most children develop the ToM understanding that overcomes these confusions spontaneously, during the preschool years. But for some, this does not ‘automatically’ happen. In these cases, when ToM mastery is seriously delayed, a boost in the form of explicit teaching can sometimes be helpful.

The goal of this evidence-based teaching program is to supply a tool to assist this to happen.