Author(s): Sanjida O'Connell
"I know what you're thinking," we say, but how do we know what others are thinking or feeling? Because evolution has granted us what has come to be known as "Theory of Mind," the ability not only to be self-aware but aware of others' consciousness. Theory of Mind develops slowly-and in some cases, such as autism, develops little or not at all. Theory of Mind allows us to interact socially, to care about others, to manage our behavior in groups, to fall in love, and--less admirably--it allows us to lie. Some of the subject matter covered inMindreading: You are less likely to detect lies told to you by your longterm partner than by a new acquaintance.Female babies react more strongly and more often to another baby's cries than male babies. In other words, female children are more predisposed to become personally distressed by emotion in others and to cry in sympathy.In general, the female brain is superior to the male brain when it comes to social relationships; the male brain is better at spatial skills. People with autism follow the male trend, but to a much greater extreme.Autistics, like many normal men, collect things, focus on what seems to others to be trivial detail, and have a narrow range of interests. Could autism be an extreme form of the male brain?For evolutionary reasons, you should take very good care to detect eye gaze, because when another animal is looking at you it can mean one of the three 'F's. Either the animal wants to fight you, feed on you, or mate with you.