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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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Functional neuroimaging of theory of mind

Functional neuroimaging of theory of mind

(p.132) Chapter 9 Functional neuroimaging of theory of mind
Understanding Other Minds

Jorie Koster-Hale

Rebecca Saxe

Oxford University Press

The last decade of neuroimaging has discovered a robust functional regularity in the human brain: regions that have increased activity when participants think about other minds. This chapter first reviews the literature that supports this generalization and offers one interpretation: that there are cortical regions with the specific cognitive function of representing people’s mental states and experiences. We argue that this hypothesis does not rely on a strong, “phrenological” understanding of functional regions, but that understanding other minds is a major organizing principle of responses over cortex. Nevertheless, pushing beyond a relatively underspecified description of these brain regions and their functions requires characterizing not just the location and gross selectivity of these brain regions, but their precise computational roles. Thus, the final portion of the chapter reviews the existing methods and results that may shed light on the stimulus features that organize differential responses within each of these regions.

Keywords:   theory of mind, fmri, specificity, regions, social cognition

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