The historical roots of Theory of Mind: The work of James Mark Baldwin

Jordi E. Obiols, German E. Berrios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The historical development of the concepts underpinning what is currently called 'Theory of Mind' (ToM) has received little attention. This paper deals with the contribution of James Mark Baldwin (1861-1934) whose work on such concepts was original and profound. Embedding his version of ToM into a coherent developmental theory of human cognition, and suggesting novel methods of observation, Baldwin also proposed new conceptual tools and proto-concepts such as the 'ejective-self'. Baldwin also wrote on the distinction between the mental and the non-mental, and on play and imitation. His influence on Jean Piaget, another important figure in the development of ToM, is briefly touched upon here, as are possible explanations for Baldwin's woeful absence from the 20th-century ToM hagiography. © 2009 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-392
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009


  • 20th Century
  • History
  • J. M. Baldwin
  • Theory of Mind

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The historical roots of Theory of Mind: The work of James Mark Baldwin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this