Theory of mind and the origins of divergent thinking

Journal of Creative Behavior 31:169-179 (1997)

The development of a `theory of mind' may not only be important for understanding the minds of others but also for using one's own mind. To investigate this supposition, forty children between the ages of three and four were given false-belief and creativity tasks. The numbers of appropriate and of original responses in the creativity test were found to correlate positively with performance on false-belief tasks. This association was robust, as it continued to be strong and significant even when age and verbal intelligence were partialled out. The results support the hypothesis that the metarepresentational skills involved in theory of mind also affect the way children can access and scan their own mental repertoire beyond the areas of currently activated content (i.e. divergent thinking). With the advent of theory of mind a basic cognitive shift takes place in human development, and possibly took place in cognitive evolution.
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