A “theory of mind“ is the ability to infer other people’s mental states (thought, belief, value, desire, intention) and to use this information to interpret what they say, make sense of their action, and predict other people’s behavior.
An individual with theory of mind deficits have difficulty with perspective taking and social reciprocity. Studies show that by 3-4 years old, children’s theory of mind is well developed. Many individuals with autism or asperger, lack of theory-of-mind creates major barriers to communication and closeness to others. These barriers often lead to those nearest to the individual feel a lack of empathy from the individual.