Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute and interpret one’s own and other people’s mental states, such as beliefs, desires, intents, perspectives, pretending, and knowledge. ToM capacities are inborn in humans, but the development of ToM is shaped in the interactions with other individuals, shaping at the same time such interactions. ToM allows individuals to interpret reality at both cognitive and affective levels, thus it is critical for mentalizing processes that organizes the understanding of one’s own and others’ experience in terms of mental state constructs. 799 adults aged between 18 and 64 years old (M = 35.78, SD = 10.96) completed a ToM performance task and filled out questionnaires on parental bonding, attachment styles, dissociation, alexithymia, malevolent personality traits, and empathic tendencies. Statistical analysis showed a number of significant associations and complex interactions between ToM abilities and the other investigated variables. Among the most relevant findings that will be discussed: (1) a categorical regression analysis showed that lower ToM abilities are related to higher dissociation and higher alexithymia; (2) a multiple mediation model showed that parental lack of care negatively affects ToM abilities; (3) another multiple mediation model showed that the relationship between ToM and actual empathic tendencies is mediated by alexithymia and malevolent personality traits; (4) a multiple correspondence analysis showed that the lowest levels of ToM abilities are linked to fearful attachment, pathological dissociation, and alexithymia. The findings of this study support the view that a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s mentalizing processes should integrate trauma theory, attachment theory, and neurodevelopmental models of affect regulation.
|Titolo:||Mentalizing affects (and) mentalizing minds: Developmental, interpersonal, cognitive, and affective domains of theory of mind in a sample of Italian adults|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.2 Abstract in Atti di convegno|