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The term theory-theory (or "theory theory") is a theory in cognitive development that children construct theories to explain everything they experience.[1]

According to theory-theory, the best idea and explanation of mental processes[1] in young children is that humans "always seek reasons, causes, and underlying principles" for what they experience. The essential idea of theory-theory is that children do not want simple logical definitions but, rather, seek fuller explanations of various things, especially of those that involve them.[1] The term originated in the 20th century, and the concept is also referred to as model theory.

Theory-theory differs from the Theory of Mind (which concerns mental states of people) in that the full scope of theory-theory also concerns mechanical devices or other objects, beyond just thinking about people and their viewpoints.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The developing person through childhood and adolescence, Kathleen Stassen Berger, 2005, "Chapter 9 - The Play Years: Cognitive Development", p.262 (of 608 pages), web: Books-Google-IH8C.
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