Theory of mind
Prior to the theory-of-mind explosion in developmental psychology, we worked on the problem of what children understand about mental states in themselves and others and how this developing knowledge influences their social interactions. Our research on the child’s concept of intention was seminal in the emergence of the theory-of-mind subfield. Aided by conceptual analyses of intention within the field of philosophy of mind, we documented the development of several aspects of the concept of intention in children, including the distinctions between intentional behavior and mistakes, reflexes, and passive behaviors; intentions as causes of behavior; the distinction between conditional and non-conditional intentions; the difference between intending an act versus a consequence; and recursive awareness of intention. We also developed several rule-based models of reasoning about intention that capture some of these empirical phenomena.
- Shultz, T. R., & Cloghesy, K. (1981). Development of recursive awareness of intention. Developmental Psychology, 17, 465-471.
- Shultz, T. R., & Shamash, F. (1981). The child's conception of intending act and consequence. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 13, 368-372.
- Shultz, T. R., & Wells, D. (1985). Judging the intentionality of action-outcomes. Developmental Psychology, 21, 83-89.