Background: The role of theory of mind (ToM) in autism spectrum disorders and other communication impairments has been an active area of research in the last 30 years. Advances in neuroimaging in the last 10 years have led to the rise of the field of social neuroscience, which has markedly increased the understanding of the neurophysiological/neuroanatomical and neurochemical nature of ToM functioning and deficits in typically developing individuals and in children and adults with a variety of social and communication impairments. Objective: The goal of this paper is to (a) describe the current concepts of ToM based on neuroscience research, and (b) present a framework for the dimensions of ToM that have been identified, which can be used to guide assessment and intervention for persons with deficits in ToM that affect social interactions. Summary: This article presents neuroscience research that has documented the neurophysiological/neuroanatomical bases for cognitive and affective ToM and interpersonal and intrapersonal ToM as well as neurochemical and epigenetic influences on ToM. This information provides an important framework for assessing ToM deficits in persons with social and communication impairments and developing interventions that target the specific dimensions of ToM deficits.

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