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Discussion: Theory of Mind and Information Processing

Resources for this week’s question

Beck, A. T., & Clark, D. A. (1997). An information processing model of anxiety: Automatic and strategic processes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35(1), 49–58. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(96)00069-1

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Hallford, G. S., & Andrews, G. (2010). Information processing models of cognitive development. In Goswami, U. (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Child Cognitive Development (2nd ed.) (pp. 697–722). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Note: You will access this book from the Walden Library databases.

Shiffrin, R. M., & Schneider, W. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing: II. Perceptual learning, automatic attending and a general theory. Psychological Review, 84(2), 127–190. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.127

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Optional Resources

Wellman, H. M. (2010). Developing a theory of mind. In Goswami, U. (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Child Cognitive Development (2nd ed.) (pp. 258–284). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Discussion: Theory of Mind and Information Processing

One fascinating part of being human is that we can only completely know our own minds. We cannot read or fully understand the minds of others. However, we need to try and understand other people’s thoughts to socially interact with one another. For example, if a friend told you in conversation that her mother had died, you would try to understand how she is feeling, perhaps sad, upset, and depressed. You would likely then move forward with the social interaction in a sensitive manner. This example demonstrates the concept of theory of mind: you have made the presumption that your friend has a mind, you have tried to understand her mind, and then you acted accordingly. Having a theory of mind allows you to attribute thoughts, emotions, desires, and intentions to others, then explain their actions or intentions. It is a critical component in human social interaction.

Unfortunately, some people are impaired in this aspect of cognitive development. Sometimes called “mind blindness” or “theory of mind deficit,” this impairment means that a person has trouble with understanding others’ perspectives. Either they do not think about the thoughts of others, they interpret them incorrectly, or they have trouble seeing a perspective other than their own. Typically, these individuals have trouble in social interactions and do not reciprocate social cues and dynamics per societal norms. Impairment is strongly associated with several mental and physical disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, depression, and excessive alcohol use.

Information processing theory refers to a different aspect of cognitive development. This theory says that humans process the information they receive, rather than just respond to the environment. As Dr. MacDonald explained in this week’s introduction, many have suggested that the best way to think about information processing is to think of the human brain as a computer: it takes in information, analyzes it, stores it, and creates output. For example, if you just asked your fiancée to marry you, your brain will take in his or her response as input, analyze it for meaning and context, store the memory in short-term and/or long-term memory, then create an output (hopefully of a smile and kiss!).

In this Week’s Discussion, you will search the Walden Library and/or other reputable academic sources for a scholarly article on theory of mind or information processing theory. Then, you will post a brief summary of the article you selected and provide a real-world application of the theory, explaining the strengths and limitations of the theory in explaining or testing this application. Finally, you will explain how the theory could apply to aspects of your daily life.

To prepare:

· Search the Walden Library or other reputable academic sources for a peer-reviewed article on theory of mind or information processing theory published within the last 10 years.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post a brief summary of the article you selected. Provide a real-world application of the theory within your current professional area or one in which you have interest. Also, explain how the theory could apply to one or two aspects of your daily life. Be specific and provide examples.

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