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  1. Getting to Know You: Accuracy and Error in Judgments of Character.Evan Westra - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (5):583-600.
    Character judgments play an important role in our everyday lives. However, decades of empirical research on trait attribution suggest that the cognitive processes that generate these judgments are prone to a number of biases and cognitive distortions. This gives rise to a skeptical worry about the epistemic foundations of everyday characterological beliefs that has deeply disturbing and alienating consequences. In this paper, I argue that this skeptical worry is misplaced: under the appropriate informational conditions, our everyday character-trait judgments are in (...)
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  • Mindreading Beyond Belief: A More Comprehensive Conception of How We Understand Others.Shannon Spaulding - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12526.
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  • When is Mindreading Accurate? A Commentary on Shannon Spaulding’s How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition. [REVIEW]Evan Westra - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (6):868-882.
    In How We Understand Others: Philosophy and Social Cognition, Shannon Spaulding develops a novel account of social cognition with pessimistic implications for mindreading accuracy: according to Spaulding, mistakes in mentalizing are much more common than traditional theories of mindreading commonly assume. In this commentary, I push against Spaulding’s pessimism from two directions. First, I argue that a number of the heuristic mindreading strategies that Spaulding views as especially error prone might be quite reliable in practice. Second, I argue that current (...)
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  • How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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  • Stereotypes, Theory of Mind, and the Action–Prediction Hierarchy.Evan Westra - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2821-2846.
    Both mindreading and stereotyping are forms of social cognition that play a pervasive role in our everyday lives, yet too little attention has been paid to the question of how these two processes are related. This paper offers a theory of the influence of stereotyping on mental-state attribution that draws on hierarchical predictive coding accounts of action prediction. It is argued that the key to understanding the relation between stereotyping and mindreading lies in the fact that stereotypes centrally involve character-trait (...)
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  • Does Intraindividual Variability of Personality States Improve Perspective Taking? An Ecological Approach Integrating Personality and Social Cognition. [REVIEW]Richard Wundrack, Julia Prager, Eva Asselmann, Garret O'Connell & Jule Specht - 2018 - Journal of Intelligence 6:18.
    Research integrating cognitive abilities and personality has focused on the role of personality traits. We propose a theory on the role of intraindividual variability of personality states (hereafter state variability) on perspective taking, in particular, the ability to infer other peoples’ mental states. First, we review the relevant research on personality psychology and social cognition. Second, we propose two complementary routes by which state variability relates to anchoring and adjustment in perspective taking. The first route, termed ego-dispersion, suggests that an (...)
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