Critically compare and evaluate the nativist and constructivist views of language acquisition.

Keeping in mind the unit 7 file (attached to order) Please answer, and support your answers with appropriate references:
Is the development of theory of mind continuous or discontinuous?
What is the evidence for and against the position that language is innate?

Unit 7 – Theory of mind and Language
Unit Introduction
Having focused on prenatal and neonatal development, we will now turn to focus on early childhood development and particularly the development of two areas of

cognition: theory of mind and the use of language.

At the end of this unit, you should:
1.    Be able to describe and evaluate theories of and research on theory of mind development.
2.    Compare and contrast models stage-like vs. continuous models of theory of mind development.
3.    Critically compare and evaluate the nativist and constructivist views of language acquisition.
What is Theory of Mind (ToM)?
According to Lewis & Mitchell (1994), having a ‘theory of mind’ means having the “ability to make inferences about others’ representational states and to predict

behaviour accordingly”. For example, when we see someone behaving in a certain way (such as putting their umbrella up or saying “it is raining hard”), we will make the

inference that they have a belief about the current weather conditions (i.e. they believe that it is raining). We can use our understanding of their mental state to

predict other behaviour (e.g. driving to the shops rather than walking).

The term ‘theory of mind’ was coined by Premack & Woodruff (1978) and was actually used to refer to chimpanzees rather than humans. However, since the early 1980s, a

vast body of research on theory of mind in humans (particularly children and clinical populations) has been carried out. Although this term is now universally used to

refer to the understanding of mental states, a number of other terms have been used to describe similar phenomena. Whiten (1994) lists some of these:

Alternative labels for, and Concepts about, Mindreading (Whiten, 1994)
•    Folk Psychology (Wundt, 1916)
•    Consciousness of the feeling of their fellows (Thorndike, 1911)
•    Imputation to others of firsthand experience (Lloyd Morgan, 1930)
•    Naïve psychology (Heider, 1958)
•    Second order intentionality (Dennett, 1971)
•    Intersubjectivity (Trevarthen, 1977)
•    Theory of mind (Premack & Woodruff, 1978)
•    Metarepresentation (Pylyshyn, 1978)
•    Belief-desire reasoning (Davidson, 1980)
•    Natural psychology (Humphrey, 1980)
•    Social referencing (Feinman, 1982)
•    Mindreading (Krebs & Dawkins, 1984)
•    Mental simulation (Gordon, 1986)
•    Mentalising (Morton, 1989)
•    Perception of intentionality (Dasser et al., 1989)
•    (Mental) attribution (Cheney & Seyfarth, 1990)
•    Mentalistic theory of behaviour (Perner, 1991)

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