Mental inference

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Chapter 12 endnote 44, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

Mental inference is normal; we all do it every day, automatically and effortlessly. [...] Mental inference is so ubiquitous in Western culture that scholars keep discovering it again and again and calling it by different names.

Psychologists refer to mental inference (representing the minds of others) by many names:

There are cultural differences in how frequently people perceive and interpret human actions in terms of underlying mental states like thoughts, feelings and goals. In Western cultures, like North America and Europe, people with typically functioning brains are promiscuous with their mental inferences. In many other cultures, however, people use physical movements to predict future action, but they do not routinely use actions as grounds for inferring what is on someone's mind. This is called opacity of mind.[11]


Notes on the Notes

  1. Gray, Heather M., Kurt Gray, and Daniel M. Wegner. 2007. "Dimensions of mind perception." Science 315 (5812): 619-619.
  2. Wegner, Daniel M., and Kurt Gray. 2016. The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters. New York: Viking.
  3. Contreras, Juan Manuel, Jessica Schirmer, Mahzarin R. Banaji, and Jason P. Mitchell. 2013. "Common brain regions with distinct patterns of neural responses during mentalizing about groups and individuals." Journal of cognitive neuroscience 25 (9): 1406-1417.
  4. Malle, Bertram F. 2011. "Time to give up the dogmas of attribution: An alternative theory of behavior explanation."  In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology volume 44, edited by Mark P. Zanna and James M. Olson, 297-352.  Burlington: Academic Press.
  5. Iacoboni, Marco. 2008. Mirroring People: The New Science of How we Connect with Others. New York, NY: Picador.
  6. Hasson, Uri, and Chris D. Frith. 2016. "Mirroring and beyond: coupled dynamics as a generalized framework for modelling social interactions." Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371 (1693): 20150366.
  7. Gilbert, Daniel T. 1998. "Ordinary personology." In The Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th edition,  edited by Susan. T. Fiske, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Gardner Lindzey, 89-150. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
  8. Gopnik, Alison, and Andrew N. Meltzoff. 1994. "Minds, bodies, and persons: Young children’s understanding of the self and others as reflected in imitation and ‘theory of mind’ research." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16: 1–14.
  9. Koster-Hale, Jorie, and Rebecca Saxe. 2013. "Theory of mind: a neural prediction problem." Neuron 79 (5): 836-848.
  10. Epley, Nicholas, Adam Waytz, and John T. Cacioppo. 2007. On seeing human: A three-factor theory of anthropomorphism." Psychological Review 114 (4): 864-886.
  11. Barrett, H. Clark, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel MT Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich et al. 2016. "Small-scale societies exhibit fundamental variation in the role of intentions in moral judgment." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (17): 4688-4693.