| Child Development
Why We Think We Can't Dance: Theory of Mind and Children's Desire to Perform
Theory of Mind (ToM) allows children to achieve success in the social world by understanding others' minds. A study with 3–12 year olds, however, demonstrates that gains in ToM are linked to decreases in children's desire to engage in performative behaviors associated with health and well-being—such as singing and dancing. One hundred and fifty nine middle-class children from diverse backgrounds in a northeastern USA metropolitan area completed the study in 2011. The development of ToM is associated with decreases in self-esteem, which in turn predicts decreases in children's willingness to perform. This shift away from performance begins at age 4 (when ToM begins to develop), years before children enter puberty.
Keywords: Theory of Mind, Performance, Self-Esteem, Social Norms;
Cognition and Thinking;