KHAS Psychology Department Colloquium Series – Asst. Prof. Müge Ekerim-Akbulut

23 November 2023
13:30 - 15:00

KHAS Psychology Department Colloquium Series host Asst. Prof. Müge Ekerim-Akbulut (Istanbul 29 Mayis University) on Thursday, November 23, between 13:30 and 15:00 at B-409 for her speech titled “Mental State Understanding: Links with Social and Contextual Factors Across Development”.

Abstract: Theory of mind (ToM), also known as mentalizing or mental state understanding, refers to our ability to understand the thoughts and intentions behind others’ observable behaviors. Acting as a bridge between social and cognitive skills, ToM is considered a uniquely human capacity that underlies positive, coordinated, and smooth social interactions. This presentation will delve into the socio-cultural aspects of ToM, bringing together a selection of research findings. These findings illustrate i) how ToM develops in the context of socio-cultural relations during childhood and ii) how it is selectively employed by both children and adults, depending on various social and contextual factors. In summary, the talk will argue that the development and active use of ToM in social interactions serve a central purpose — to enhance and facilitate harmonious social relationships among members of the same socio-cultural group.

About the Speaker: Müge Ekerim-Akbulut received her BA degree in Psychology from the department at Boğaziçi University in 2014. Her interest in developmental psychology was sparked during her undergraduate years when she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the developmental psychology laboratory of the department. Following graduation, she enrolled in a Ph.D. program in developmental psychology at Koç University. During her Ph.D., she studied the socio-cognitive development of children and conducted research on how children develop mental state understanding skills and use them in social contexts. She also worked on the mind-reading abilities of young adults, investigating how cultural identity and social perceptions about diverse cultural groups could influence the mentalizing skills of emerging adults. She successfully earned her Ph.D. degree in 2019 from Koç University and has since been working as an assistant professor at Istanbul 29 Mayis University. Her current research focuses on the social and cognitive influences on children’s understanding of other people’s as well as their own mental states and receives funding from MEB and TUBITAK.

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