What Do Psychologists Mean by ‘Theory of Mind’? Discuss the Claim That Theory of Mind Is an Evolved Adaptation

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TMA02 Part 1 “What do psychologists mean by ‘theory of mind’? Discuss the claim that theory of mind is an evolved adaptation” Evolutionary psychologists seek the meaning of humanness and what makes us so different from other species. Investigations of evolutionary processes and adaptation that effect each other, lead researchers to the 'theory of mind' which is the ability to comprehend and predict the action and feelings of others. Evidence discussed in this essay will show that investigations and data raised the claim that the theory of mind is an evolved adaptation. However the unreliability of the results makes the claim an ongoing discussion and an open debate. The theory of evolution, first proposed by Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) implies that all species are derived from common ancestors through natural selection (Phoenix, 2007 p.118-121). Natural selection is thought to be the main factor resulting in the diversity of species: it has been defined as a natural process, whereby only the variants best adapted to their environment develop the ability of a longer survival and pass on the best characteristics to future generations. Natural selection in species leads to 'adaptation' which is a change in behaviour as a consequence of surrounding modification. Within humans many adaptations have happened through Darwin’s theory of natural selection, one of these adaptations is called Theory of Mind. Byrne and Whiten defined the 'Theory of mind' as the psychological characteristic that allows humans to interact effectively with each other. This can be defined in terms of the ability to know or intuit what another person may think, or how another may act or feel, in order to adjust their own actions (Phoenix, 2007 p.133). Considering this theory from an evolutionary point of view, the adaptive function results in individuals enhancing the
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