Theory of mind at school: academic outcomes and the influence of the school context

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  • University of Pavia


The recent expansion of research on children’s understanding of others’ minds (or ‘theory of mind’) into middle childhood provides fresh opportunities to consider its origins and consequences. In this paper, we propose that, in addition to supporting children’s social interactions, individual differences in theory of mind benefit academic achievement, in particular, reading comprehension and scientific reasoning. Furthermore, we argue that the school and classroom context can influence individual differences in theory of mind and its ongoing development in middle childhood. We suggest future directions for research to test these claims, which will provide a new perspective on the consequences of theory of mind and test the developmental continuity of socio-cultural accounts of mindreading.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 11/10/2021.


Original languageEnglish
JournalInfant and Child Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Sep 2021


  • theory of mind, academic achievement, schooling, Middle Childhood

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