Along with the somewhat surprising conclusion that 9 year-olds are more likely to assign supernatural significance to perceived events than 5 and 6 year-olds, comes an exploration of the theory of mind - an individual's model of what another person might be thinking. The cool bit is when the discussion turns to second-, third- and even seventh-order theories of mind:
For example, in the everyday (nonsupernatural) social domain, one would need this kind of mature theory of mind to reason in the following manner:"Jakob thinks that Adrienne doesn’t know I stole the jewels."
Whereas a basic ("first-order") theory of mind allows even a young preschooler to understand the first propositional clause in this statement, "Jakob thinks that . . . ," it takes a somewhat more mature ("second-order") theory of mind to fully comprehend the entire social scenario: "Jakob thinks that [Adrienne doesn’t know] . . ."
Most people can’t go much beyond four orders of mental-state reasoning (consider the Machiavellian complexities of, say, Leo Tolstoy’s novels), but studies show that the absolute maximum in adults hovers around seven orders of mental state.
I personally find myself sinking fast as the orders of mind theory build. Rather than a illuminating a general failure of intelligence (other evidence may exist!), my occasional mental discomfort has a specific cause. Others with a more highly developed skill might even enjoy flexing their theory of mind muscles (Isaac Asimov comes to "mind").
There are such a myriad of mental skills that we practice each day. Encountering an explanation of a hitherto unexplored example brings that unique rush of "Ah ha!" and provides the high that helps a nerd get through the day.