University of Edinburgh

Theory of Mind

Presented on Monday, 22nd October 2018


Theory of Mind (ToM) involves understanding another person's knowledge, beliefs, emotions and intentions and how this information is used in social settings. The foundations for ToM emerge early in children but take several years to fully mature.

Research highlights how deaf infants/young children from hearing families struggle to attain age appropriate understanding of ToM concepts especially beliefs of others. Reasons for this have been proposed from early interaction with parents to later language development. This workshop focused on:

  • Review of research on the development of theory of mind in deaf children.
  • A continuum of developments
  • A focus on early interaction.
  • Understanding how conversations and environment helps or hinders theory of mind development.
  • Impacts of theory of mind difficulties on wider skills especially in the school setting.

"[I will] Really think more about my work with 0-4 years home visits."

"Video examples illustrated theory very well - brought the difficult concepts to life."

"I have a greater understanding of ToM in general. Networking has been extremely useful."

Target Audience

Teachers of the deaf, teachers working in mainstream settings with deaf pupils, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, support staff, social workers.


Professor Gary Morgan Dept of Language & Communication Science, City University London


10.15 am Deafness, interaction and family Gary Morgan

11.30 am ToM in deaf children

1.15 pm Later ToM developments

2 pm Deception and hidden emotions

2.45 pm Implications for therapy/practice

3.30 pm Questions, Course Evaluation and close