Theory of Mind (ToM) - ein kurzer Überblick
Swiss Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry
Einleitung Theory of Mind (ToM) ist die Fähigkeit, anderen Wünsche, Absichten, Ideen usw. zuzuschreiben, die sich von den eigenen unterscheiden. Premack und Woodruff diskutierten diese Idee 1978 in ihrem Artikel «Does the chimpanzee have atheory of mind?» . In der Folge beeinflussten verschiedenste theoretische Überlegungen die Entwicklung der ToM-Konzepte, und diverse Fragestellungen standen zur Klärung an: Beruhen ToM-Fähigkeiten ausschliesslich auf einem Reifungsprozess des Gehirns ?
... des Gehirns ? Welche Summary The ability to attribute mental and emotional states to other people and to oneself is crucial to social interactions. This ability is necessary to understand the mind and feelings of others and oneself, to understand the behaviour and actions of other people, to behave socially as expected, but also to lie and to cheat. The representational abilities are complex and consequently, several concepts emerged in neuroscience, development psychology and medicine, reflecting and dealing with their different aspects. The main concepts are theory of mind (ToM, synonymous with mind reading and mentalizing) and empathy. In short, theory of mind is the ability to attribute intentional mental states to other people and ToM deficits are paradigmatic for autism/ Asperger syndrome.M oreover, during the last years, evidence has been growing that many mental disorders are also associated with impaired representational abilities. Using functional imaging, several studies showed that the particular representational abilities like empathy and theory of mind correlate with individual, mutually overlapping, but not identical neuronal networks. Furthermore, there are controversial discussions about the correlation in attributing mental and emotional states to oneself and to other people. Even though these concepts are not broadly used in aclinical context, they could be important; the idea of impaired representational abilities might help to explain some of the social interaction deficits, which handicap many mentally ill persons. One main concern is -due to the different contexts in which these concepts emerged -that they are not defined and differentiated from each other precisely enough. To our knowledge, until recently there have been no validated, reliable instruments to measure ToM deficits in the German speaking countries available, in spite of the fact that such tests would facilitate clinical work with these representational concepts. Accurate detection and identification of the deficits in the representational abilities are necessary to refine and further validate existing therapies -apsychodynamic treatment using the theory of mind concept (the mentalization-based treatment of borderline personality disorder) has already been designed -o rt o develop new therapies, aiming at improvement of the integration of mentally ill patients in general and their social integration in particular.