Reading Minds How Childhood Teaches Us to Understand Peopleby Wellman, Henry M.
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Our hard-won, everyday comprehension of people and minds is not spoon-fed or taught. Each of us creates a wide-ranging theory of mind step-by-step and uses it to understand how all people work. Failure to learn these steps cripples a child, and ultimately an adult, in areas as diverse as interacting socially, creating a coherent life story, enjoying drama and movies, and living on one's own. Progressing along these steps--as most of us do--allows us to see the nature of our shared humanity, to understand our children and our childhood selves, to teach and to learn from others, and to better navigate and make sense of our social world. Theory of mind is basic to why some of us become religious believers and others atheists, why some of us become novelists and all of us love stories, why some love scary movies and some hate them. Reading Minds illuminates how we develop this theory of mind as children, how that defines us as individuals, and ultimately how it defines us as human.
Henry Wellman graduated with a BA from Pomona College in 1970 and with a PhD from the Institute of Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1975. He has been on the faculty of the University of Michigan for just over 40 years. His book Making Minds (OUP 2014) won book awards from the American Psychological Association and the Cognitive Development Society. He is recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, University of Michigan 2009; the G. Stanley Hall Award (for distinguished career contributions to Developmental Psychology) from the American Psychological Association, 2012; and a MERIT award from the National Institute of Child Health and Development.
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