Introduction

Research on pretend play and theory of mind has accumulated rapidly over the past 25 years and for much of that time psychologists and philosophers have debated the question of how the two topics are related. The debate began in earnest with Leslie's (1987) paper in which he outlined the case for pretend play as an early index of metarepresentational thought that assists the child in the later development of a theory of mind. Leslie's (1987) theoretical stance generated a good deal of interest in pretense, and together with recent revisions (Leslie, 2000; Scholl & Leslie, 1999), has played a prominent role in promoting important discussions about the precise nature of pretend play (Nichols & Stich, 2000), its relationship to children's understanding of mental states, particularly false beliefs (Harris, Lillard, & Perner, 1994; Lillard, 2001a), and its larger role in the development of imagination and reasoning (Harris, 2000; Taylor, 1999).

In this chapter, I review both theoretical and empirical work on the pretend play-theory-of-mind relationship. I begin with a brief discussion of the definition of key terms and a review of background literature.

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