Connections Between Theory of Mind and Sociomoral Development
The heightened attention to research on theory of mind is due in large part to the shared intuition that this core aspect of development must have important consequences for, and connections with, children's evolving social competence. This seems particularly true for the moral domain, where a psychological, or inward, focus is often taken to be a constitutive feature of what distinguishes moral actions from other kinds of behavior. Unfortunately, the theory-of-mind enterprise has largely failed to capitalize on this fundamental connection between mental life and morality, and, as a result, it has been effectively cut off from the study of sociomoral development. Contributors to this volume illustrate different, though complementary, attempts to bridge the gap that exists between these research traditions. Two central questions are addressed. First, what is the impact of children's conceptions of the mind on their moral judgments? Second, does children's mental state understanding influence the moral quality of their own behavior?
In the concluding chapters, prominent scholars from both the theory-of-mind literature and the moral development domain comment on the efforts being made to link these research traditions and offer suggestions for future inquiry. This is the 103rd volume of the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.