This paper attempts to challenge the traditional view of equating social cognition with theory of mind (TOM). Based on a critical analysis of theoretical premises and empirical approaches to TOM,, we propose a new formula for social cognition, as an emergent construction, at the interplay of internal (individual) and external (environmental) constraints. To allow for a longitudinal analysis, the concept "social cognition" is used here in a broader sense, as the processing of social stimuli representation that can be either symbolical or sub-symbolical (activation patterns). A developmental scenario, starting at birth and developing long after the age of 4, is further proposed, considering the progression of both internal and external constraints, as well as of their emerging outcome, which is social cognition.
Keywords: social cognition, theory of mind, development, internal and external constraints, constructivism