Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2017 Vol 10 Issue 54

Sergienko E.A. Theory of Mind as an integral concept in modern psychology

Full text in Russian: Сергиенко Е.А. Модель психического как интегративное понятие в современной психологии

Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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The concept of the integrative character of the concept of a Theory of Mind that emerged at the intersection of various paradigms (cognitive, social cognition, subject paradigm, psycholinguistics, metacognitive approach) is substantiated. The differences between construct Theory of Mind  and similar approaches, for example, the concept of social cognition, are shown. The Theory of Mind approach allows us to proceed to an analysis of internal conceptualization (the inner world of man), to an analysis of subjective experience, to the understanding of the world by man in his individual and universal components. In addition, this approach demonstrates the transition to the integral fields of the study. Theory of Mind as an integrative concept also marks the transition from the matrix principle in the organization of scientific knowledge to the networked, system, where the concepts of various disciplines (cognitive psychology, social psychology, psycholinguistics and others) make up the components of a network or a system of concepts, allowing a new level of research and analysis, which corresponds to the current trends of psychological knowledge in the postmodern era. On the example of the characteristics of Theory of Mind in adolescence, the change is shown not only in the components of this ability, but also in their sociocultural coordinates. It is shown that teenagers become competent in understanding the complex and ambivalent emotions, but the overall trend of the schematized of the world and relationships often leads them to the simplifications and inability to combine pleasant and unpleasant emotions towards a situation or another person. Specifics of the understanding of humor, as well as a phenomenon of bulling in the context of the Theory of Mind is disclosed. It is stressed that understanding the infidel opinions thrown at pre-school age, is universal in social cognition of children in different cultures. Theory of Mind although reveals the internal mental mechanisms of understanding the world, but necessarily requires its inclusion in a broader interdisciplinary context of researches the development of the world picture and its understanding.

Keywords: Theory of Mind, networks, integral concept, interparadigmality, adolescence, picture of the world, mental mechanism, social cognition


The study was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 17-06-00069.


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Received 11 April 2017. Date of publication: 31 August 2017.

About author

Sergienko Elena A. Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13–1, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Sergienko E.A. Theory of Mind as an integral concept in modern psychology. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 54, p. 7. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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