‘Social cognition’ refers in very general terms to thinking about people, knowledge of people, and the social world, as well as to social processes in cognitive development. That is, it is a term that is used to refer both to the nature or content of children’s understanding of others and themselves, and to theories and explanations of how social experiences are involved in the development of understanding more broadly considered—the role of social factors in cognitive growth. The study of social cognition then is at the border of cognitive and social developmental psychology (Butterworth 1982). It brings together very different theories of the growth of knowledge and is a growing point for new ideas on the nature of children’s understanding of mind and emotion and on the relation of this understanding to children’s prosocial and moral development, and their social relationships.
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