Deconstructing and reconstructing theory of mind

Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19 (2):65-72 (2015)
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Abstract
Usage of the term ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) has exploded across fields ranging from developmental psychology to social neuroscience and psychiatry research. However, its meaning is often vague and inconsistent, its biologi- cal bases are a subject of debate, and the methods used to study it are highly heterogeneous. Most crucially, its original definition does not permit easy downward translation to more basic processes such as those stud- ied by behavioral neuroscience, leaving the interpreta- tion of neuroimaging results opaque. We argue for a reformulation of ToM through a systematic two-stage approach, beginning with a deconstruction of the con- struct into a comprehensive set of basic component processes, followed by a complementary reconstruction from which a scientifically tractable concept of ToM can be recovered.
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First archival date: 2019-03-09
Latest version: 2 (2020-09-11)
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2015-09-03

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