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Understanding Other MindsPerspectives from developmental social neuroscience$
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Simon Baron-Cohen, Michael Lombardo, and Helen Tager-Flusberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.001.0001

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Mindreading by simulation

Mindreading by simulation

The roles of imagination and mirroring

(p.448) Chapter 25 Mindreading by simulation
Understanding Other Minds

Alvin I. Goldman

Jordan C. Lucy

Oxford University Press

This chapter updates the case for the simulation approach to mindreading. It shows how simulation theory successfully addresses four questions: (1) how mental-state attribution tasks are executed; (2) how simulation figures in the early acquisition of mentalizing; (3) how simulation comports with evidence about the neural basis of mentalizing, and (4) how it meshes with plausible accounts of brain evolution. A duplex approach to mindreading is presented that exemplifies the familiar dual-process model of cognition. “Enactment” imagination drives high-level mindreading whereas mirroring is the basis of low-level mindreading. The power of simulation is supported by a recent study showing that merely imagining eating can mimic genuine eating. Rival theories of mindreading (e.g., theory-theory and rationality theory) provide little or no explanation of many species of mindreading, especially attribution of sensations and emotions by means of facial expressions and other observable cues.

Keywords:   Default network, disgust, imagination, mentalizing, mindreading, mirroring, rationality theory, simulation theory, theory-theory

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