Theory of mind (ToM)

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A Influência da personalidade e da sintomatologia na Theory of Mind

A Influência da personalidade e da sintomatologia na Theory of Mind

A Teoria da Mente (Theory-of-Mind; ToM) tem sido nas últimas décadas alvo de interesse por parte de alguns investigadores pela sua importância no estabelecimento de relações em contexto social. Para avaliar esta capacidade têm sido desenvolvidas diversas tarefas que avaliam o processo social-percetivo e o processo social-cognitivo. Estas tarefas têm sido aplicadas a diferentes grupos clínicos e não clínicos com frágeis adaptações às exigências do meio social. Contudo, nem todos os resultados se têm revelado consensuais, ou seja, dentro de um determinado grupo clínico nem todos os sujeitos parecem apresentar dificuldades na ToM, o que nos leva a pensar que existem variáveis interindividuais que possam influenciar a ToM. Duas das variáveis candidatas são a personalidade enquanto estrutura e a sintomatologia. Neste contexto, tivemos como primeiro objetivo comparar o desempenho de 90 participantes com diferentes estruturas de personalidade, Dependente (N=10) vs. Histriónica (N=20) vs. Narcísica (N=20) vs. Compulsiva (N=17) em duas tarefas de avaliação da ToM (em ambas as dimensões, cognitiva e afetiva), o Faux Pas Recognition Test e o Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task a par da avaliação da capacidade empática e compara-los com um grupo de 23 participantes controlo. No momento seguinte, subdividimos a amostra geral em dois subgrupos de acordo com a sintomatologia apresentada (18 participantes com hipomania vs. 21 participantes com ansiedade) e fomos comparar o seu desempenho nas mesmas tarefas ToM com um grupo de 20 participantes controlo.
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Serotonin and Dopamine Gene Variation and Theory of Mind Decoding Accuracy in Major Depression: A Preliminary Investigation.

Serotonin and Dopamine Gene Variation and Theory of Mind Decoding Accuracy in Major Depression: A Preliminary Investigation.

The goal of the current study was to examine in a preliminary fashion the relation of poly- morphisms in the SCL6A4, DAT1, DRD4, and COMT genes to ToM decoding in adults with a current diagnosis of MDD compared to adults with no psychiatric history. Numerous papers have been published on the issue of false positive findings and failures to replicate in candidate gene studies [30]. Our design included a number of theoretical, methodological, and statistical features that have been suggested to address the issues raised by small samples in targeted gene research [31]. First, we focus on a circumscribed skill (theory of mind decoding) that has been tied to a highly specific neuroanatomical substrate. As such, it is less heterogeneously deter- mined than other broad phenotypes that have been examined in the targeted genetic and gene by environment literature. Second, our choice of genes is theory-driven based on imaging and preclinical data on the neuroanatomical substrates of theory of mind and social cognition. Third, we report bootstrapped confidence intervals over 1000 samples for all of our primary significant mean differences below to determine a greater measure of accuracy to our estimates [32]. The four genes listed above are the only ones that we examined in relation to theory mind in this sample, and were chosen based on our strong theoretical rationale.
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Adaptação dos instrumentos Recognition of Faux  Pas Test e Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task para a população portuguesa

Adaptação dos instrumentos Recognition of Faux Pas Test e Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task para a população portuguesa

O presente estudo enquadra-se na linha de trabalhos que procuram adaptar determinados instrumentos como, o Recognition of Faux Pas Test (Gregory et al., 2002; Stone, Baron-Cohen, & Knight, 1998) e a Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task (Brüne, 2003), cujos objetivos fundamentais são compreender e avaliar a teoria da mente (ToM), enquanto dimensão fundamental da cognição social humana. Neste contexto, tivemos como principal objetivo adaptar estes instrumentos para a população portuguesa. Para o efeito, foram avaliados 200 participantes (125 mulheres e 75 homens), com idades compreendidas entre os 18 e 60 anos. Num momento seguinte, a amostra foi subdividida em três grupos (Narcisista vs. Compulsiva vs. Histriónica) de acordo com o ponto de corte nas escalas de personalidade do Inventário Clínico Multiaxial de Millon III (MCMI-III). De acordo com o nosso principal objetivo e pelos dados da análise fatorial realizada é possível identificar para o Recognition of Faux Pas Test um valor de consistência interna (calculada pelo alfa de Cronbach) de 0.82, enquanto no instrumento Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task identificou-se dois fatores com índices de consistência interna de 0.45 e 0.51, respetivamente. Apesar do Theory of Mind Picture Stories Task não apresentar uma boa consistência interna obtivemos um valor de KMO razoável para a respetiva amostra. Neste sentido, os instrumentos adaptados à população portuguesa revelaram apresentar uma consistência interna, validade e sensibilidade aceitáveis, bem como um instrumento acessível aos participantes.
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Investigating the genetic basis of theory of mind (ToM): the role of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene polymorphisms.

Investigating the genetic basis of theory of mind (ToM): the role of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene polymorphisms.

One limitation in our study was the absence of measuring executive function, it should be noted that some social cognitive abilities, such as inhibitory control and general intelligence, might involve into the relations between COMT gene and theory of mind. Besides, the sample sizes from the current study were not so optimal that these results should have to be interpreted with caution when amplified into a larger population. Also, sample restriction might be reflected in the small effect size of COMT gene SNPs in our study. Alternatively, we may not rule out the possibility of systematic errors of genotyping, which caused the disequilibrium and thus probably leading to inflation of Type I error. Other candidate genes might also be considered, as well as gene6gene interactions and gene6environmental interactions. In spite of those limitations, this is the first study to our knowledge that explore the relation between COMT SNPs and the two aspects of ToM. And interestingly, we demonstrate specific DA- relate gene (COMT) was involved in different components of ToM. Future studies should consider more details and draw a whole picture of the genetics basis of mindreading.
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Cooperation and deception recruit different subsets of the theory-of-mind network.

Cooperation and deception recruit different subsets of the theory-of-mind network.

The term ‘‘theory of mind’’ (ToM) describes an evolved psychological mechanism that is necessary to represent intentions and expectations in social interaction. It is thus involved in determining the proclivity of others to cooperate or defect. While in cooperative settings between two parties the intentions and expectations of the protagonists match, they diverge in deceptive scenarios, in which one protagonist is intentionally manipulated to hold a false belief about the intention of the other. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm using cartoons showing social interactions (including the outcome of the interaction) between two or three story characters, respectively, we sought to determine those brain areas of the ToM network involved in reasoning about cooperative versus deceptive interactions. Healthy volunteers were asked to reflect upon the protagonists’ intentions and expectations in cartoons depicting cooperation, deception or a combination of both, where two characters cooperated to deceive a third. Reasoning about the mental states of the story characters yielded substantial differences in activation patterns: both deception and cooperation activated bilateral temporoparietal junction, parietal and cingulate regions, while deception alone additionally recruited orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal regions. These results indicate an important role for prefrontal cortex in processing a mismatch between a character’s intention and another’s expectations as required in complex social interactions.
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Mentalization and theory of mind in borderline personality organization: exploring the differences between affective and cognitive aspects of social cognition in emotional pathology

Mentalization and theory of mind in borderline personality organization: exploring the differences between affective and cognitive aspects of social cognition in emotional pathology

In descriptions of the ability to interpret the behavior of others in terms of mental contents (such as beliefs, desires, feelings, needs, thoughts, and intentions), the con- cepts of theory of mind (ToM) and mentalization are frequently used interchangeably [1]. Although some aspects of these notions are similar, they do not possess identical status and importance in explaining emotional disorders. This is evidenced not only by theoretical conceptualizations involving the various factors and mechanisms behind development (both normal and impaired), but also by the results of empirical research, particularly concerning emotional and personality disorders. This paper is an attempt to answer the questions about the differences between theory of mind (ToM) and men- talization, and to indicate their importance for explaining emotional pathology—here represented by the levels of personality organization (LPO) [2].
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Theory of mind : assessment development and investigation of cocaine dependents

Theory of mind : assessment development and investigation of cocaine dependents

However, the results found in Chapter 4 were only possible due previous work. This includes the systematic review conducted (Chapter 2: Theory of Mind in substance users: a systematic review), in order to help us understand the current scientific consensus on ToM impairments in substance use conditions and identify the state-of-the-art instruments used in empirical research. This review revealed a considerable amount of evidence for ToM impairments in substance dependence disorders. However, such results were restricted to alcohol and methamphetamine dependence disorders, since no study had investigated cocaine dependence disorder or cannabis dependence disorder. In view of the growing evidence that drug dependence induces ToM impairments, and the lack of research in cocaine dependent populations, we developed our research objectives, later fulfilled, as described above.
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Distinct regions of right temporo-parietal junction are selective for theory of mind and exogenous attention.

Distinct regions of right temporo-parietal junction are selective for theory of mind and exogenous attention.

Note that prior data already made it very unlikely that the results of either paradigm included a confound of the other. The attention task is does not covertly depend on Theory of Mind [14]. RTPJ recruitment has been observed for exogenous attention tasks that don’t involve any ‘‘false cueing’’ manipulation [9]. Similarly, the results observed in Theory of Mind tasks are not confounded with shifts of exogenous attention. False photographs and false maps provide a well-matched control for false beliefs in terms of logical and inhibitory demands, as well as reading times and syntactic complexity, but do not recruit the RTPJ [2,3,23]. The response of the RTPJ for Theory of Mind tasks generalizes from verbal to pictorial stimuli [24], and from visual to aural presentation (Bedny et al, in preparation), each of which creates different attentional demands. The initial response of the RTPJ is specific in time to the moment when a belief is presented, but independent of both the truth-value and the emotional valence of the belief content [5,25]; that is, the response is equally high for true and false beliefs, for negatively- or positively-valenced beliefs, and for beliefs shared or not shared by the participant. Finally, even when the stimuli and the subjects’ responses are all physically identical, just changing the task instructions from an abstract rule to answering a question about a person’s thoughts is sufficient to elicit enhanced recruitment of the RTPJ [6]. Overall, this profile cannot be explained away in terms of attentional shifts; and instead suggests a neural mechanism involved in thinking about thoughts and beliefs.
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Theory of mind and preschoolers' understanding of implicit causality in verbs: A comparison between Serbian and Hungarian children

Theory of mind and preschoolers' understanding of implicit causality in verbs: A comparison between Serbian and Hungarian children

A number of studies identified a link between aspects of early language acquisition, communicational skills and theory of mind (Watson, Painter & Bornstein, 2001; Astington & Jenkins, 1999; Huges, 1998). Milligan, Astington & Dack (2007) carried out a meta-analysis on more than 100 studies concerning the correlation between theory of mind development and various aspects of language development. The authors concluded that advanced language abilities accelerate theory of mind development. As Doherty (2009) argues, this acceleration may be due to the usage of language as a tool for thinking and speaking about mental states. Althought the results of Milligan et al. (2007) suggest that false belief understanding is a result of general language development, the authors also suggest another possibility, namely, that false belief understanding predicts language development later in childhood.
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Fairness norms and theory of mind in an ultimatum game: judgments, offers, and decisions in school-aged children.

Fairness norms and theory of mind in an ultimatum game: judgments, offers, and decisions in school-aged children.

Overall, our findings provide useful cues to better understand children’s decision-making behavior not only in the lab, but also in real life. In fact, even if some evidence exists showing that self- selected students are an appropriate subject pool for the study of social behavior in bargaining games [32], our sample of children is not affected by the problem of self-selection, since they are not volunteers. However, our findings are subject to some limitations. First, in order to avoid learning effects, the actual procedure did not provide Proposers with feedback between conditions. The modification of this methodological option would allow exploring the disposition of Proposers to take advantage of Coin in Full but not in Private when we provide feedback about the Responder’s decision. We also presented the information conditions in a fixed order (Full, Private, and Limited) because we wanted to replicate Bicchieri and Chavez [5] in order to compare children to adults. Future research should address the possible influence of order on normative beliefs by means of a different paradigm. Second, to distinguish between an understanding of coin toss as a fair procedure or as a fair offer the questionnaire about fairness beliefs should be formulated in a comparative way, i.e. asking for a fairness judgment of each offer option compared to the other available options. Third, with respect to the theory of mind, we did not find a significant effect of second order false belief understanding on the norm of fairness. Although our evidence may suggest that theory of mind – operationalized as false belief understanding – does not much influence these decision processes, it is possible that the task employed does not grasp the full complexity of meta-representational ability. Future research should use a larger battery of tests of theory of mind, also including qualitative measures of the ability to adopt the perspective of the other person and to empathize, which are involved in social bargaining in adults [33].
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Association of theory of mind with social relations and child's social competence

Association of theory of mind with social relations and child's social competence

Abstract: The article reviews and evaluates the findings from the research in the field of theory of mind; how the theory of mind is connected to social relationships and how a child’s social competence reflects his/hers theory of mind. It points to those factors that contribute most to considerable individual differences among children when developing a theory of mind and it stresses out the reciprocity of effects between child’s social understanding and social relations with others. Positive fac- tors for developing a theory of mind are first of all child’s early quality experiences about mental states which predict a child’s performance on the false belief test later on. Social-economic status, parental behavior and talk (for example appropriate use of mental states and appropriate disciplining of a child) and presence of sibling of appropriate age (usually older one) with whom a child develops a quality relationship are most important family factors for theory of mind development. The role of peers is most important factor outside the family, emphasized by studies. In accordance with these factors a child develops more or less successfully his/hers social understanding which plays an important part in his/hers daily life. Children with well developed theory of mind can use it in a pro-social way, or it can serve proactive or reactive aggression when children use their under- standing of others as a way of manipulating and bullying, especially inside their peer group. Poorly developed theory of mind can prove to be a risk factor especially in a bad family situation, while a well developed theory of mind can play a protective role in child’s development. The article points out some of the deficiencies of reviewed studies and proposes options for more complex future research of child’s theory of mind.
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Social cognition and Theory of Mind: controversies and promises for understanding major psychiatric disorders

Social cognition and Theory of Mind: controversies and promises for understanding major psychiatric disorders

Because the cognitive understanding of ToM also extends to other abilities (Sabbagh, Moulson, & Harkness, 2004), theorists developed tests that measure the capacity to read others to understand an emotional state by reading the eyes or facial cues (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste, & Plumb, 2001). This paradigm involves more automatic skills, and it has been called socioperceptual or mental state decoding (Bora, Eryavuz, Kayahan, Sungu, & Veznedaroglu, 2006; Gokcen, Bora, Erermis, Kesikci, & Aydin, 2009; Sabbagh et al., 2004). In the Face Test (Adolphs, 2002), the participant is asked to look at a picture of a face and name which of seven basic emotions it represents (i.e., happiness, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness, anger, and distress). Composed of 36 pictures, the Eyes Test is used to test for the decoding of mental states. The adaptation of Baron-Cohen (2001) has 27 pictures and has been utilized in several scientiic studies (Gokcen et al., 2009). The test asks the subject to name the mental state of the person in the picture, and the picture shows just the eye region.
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Theory of Mind and Emotional Awareness in Chronic Somatoform Pain Patients.

Theory of Mind and Emotional Awareness in Chronic Somatoform Pain Patients.

The FHAT comprises four video-clips, in which two triangles display interactions suggest- ing „Surprising“, „Coaxing“, „Mocking“, and „Seducing”behavior—all of which require ToM for correct interpretation (ToM-condition) [1]. As a control, the FHAT includes four further Goal-Directed video-clips (GD-condition), in which two triangles display interactions suggest- ing „Fighting“, „Following“, „Chasing“, and „Dancing“, i.e. behaviors which do not require higher-order mentalizing abilities for recognition [1]. After each video-clip, participants are asked to describe what they observed. The responses are recorded and subsequently scored on the FHAT-intentionality and the FHAT-appropriateness scale [16]. The FHAT-intentionality score reflects to which extent deliberate actions and intentions are ascribed to the triangles on a 5-point scale (for details see: [16]): A score of 0 is given for a description of non-deliberate action (“bouncing”, “moving around”), whereas a score of 5 is given for a description of a delib- erate action aimed at affecting another’s mental state (“The blue triangle wanted to surprise the red one.”) [16]. The FHAT-appropriateness scale is a measure of how close the given response matches the content of the video, as intended by the designers [16]. A score of 0 is given for no answer, or “I don’t know”, whereas a score of 3 is given for a correct interpretation (see: [1]).
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Theory of Mind Test for Children: Content Validity

Theory of Mind Test for Children: Content Validity

The present study aimed to verify evidence of validity for the content of the TMEC, an instrument that evaluates ToM in children from 4 to 6 years of age, since there are no instruments for this in the national context. It should be noted that studies carried out in the country use some tasks already consolidated in the literature, developed in other contexts. The devel- opment of the TMEC and the subsequent studies of its psychometric characteristics may be important for the area considering the absence of instruments for the evaluation of ToM in Brazil and the relevance of this type of measurement in some contexts, such as ASD, as well as the role of ToM in the understand- ing of pro-social motivation. Furthermore, considering the important development of this ability in the stage between 3 and 5 years of age, it is fundamental to have instruments that assess ToM in the pre-school popula- tion, allowing the early detection of problems in their development. Studies are underway to verify evidence of validity in relation to other variables and reliability of the TMEC. Future studies should cover samples of atypical development (e.g. ASD) and analysis of items aiming for the future availability of the instrument.
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Exploration of the Relationship between Theory of Mind and Language in Students of Public Schools

Exploration of the Relationship between Theory of Mind and Language in Students of Public Schools

Visando contribuir para uma melhor compreensão do desenvolvimento da teoria da mente e sua interface com a linguagem no contexto nacional, o presente estudo tem como objetivo avaliar [r]

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en 0103 863X paideia 23 54 00093

en 0103 863X paideia 23 54 00093

More than simple conjectures, there is empirical evidence that children’s theory of mind development is positively correlated with their moral development. For example, in an innovative study, Dunn, Cutting and Demetriou (2000) assessed 128 4-year-old children (64 pairs of friends) in a battery of theory of mind tasks, a test of emotion comprehension and language tests. The main goal of the study, however, was the assessment of the participants’ level of permissibility of different transgressions among friends. More specifi cally, children were asked about three types of transgression: name- calling, taking a toy from a friend and excluding a friend from a game. The roles of victim and transgressor were counterbalanced. Next, children were interviewed about how permissible the transgressions were. For example, in a story during which the target child was the victim, the researcher asked the following questions: “If your friend will not let you play with him, is that okay or not okay?”; “Why is that okay/ not okay?”. Children’s theory of mind skills were positively correlated with two measures of morality (assessment of permissibility and moral justifi cation). More specifi cally, children with higher scores in theory of mind were also more likely to justify transgressions among friends using the argument of one’s need to take into consideration the other person’s feelings or point of view.
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Arq. NeuroPsiquiatr.  vol.71 número11

Arq. NeuroPsiquiatr. vol.71 número11

Objective: To evaluate the theory of mind in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and control individuals by applying the Strange Stories test that was translated and adapted to the Portuguese language. Method: Twenty-eight children with ASD and 56 controls who were all male and aged between 6 and 12 years participated in the study. Results: There were significant differences between the median scores of the groups for each of the 12 stories of the test and for the sum total of all the median scores. The median scores for all stories were significantly greater in the control group than those in the experimental group (children with ASD). In addition, the protocol had excellent internal consis- tency. Conclusion: The theory of mind skills assessed with the Strange Stories test indicated alterations in children with ASD compared with children in the control group.
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Language and Media  as Extensions of the Mind

Language and Media as Extensions of the Mind

RL: I would only say that the literacy theory approach is more focused on the questions of education and literacy which I am very interested in. I am now doing research on the connection between the printed book and the e-book and I believe that both kinds of books are important and that one shouldn’t have to try and choose between them, but rather books should be published simultaneously in ink on paper as well as digitally. In fact, I will have a book coming out this fall entitled What is Information? (2013). It will come out sim- ultaneously as a printed book and as an e-book. Anyone who buys the printed book will automatically get the digital version of the book. We are going to organise a website with the electronic version of the book, so that readers can make comments and share their ideas with other readers. We are going to turn the book into a social medium through this site. I am very interested in what you would call literacy theory but I also address other issues what is the nature of life and sentience vis-à-vis information. I know David Olson and Keith Oatley personally, as they live here in Toronto, and I admire their work. I would say that they are a little more specialised in education issues than I am.
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Manuscrito  vol.34 número1

Manuscrito vol.34 número1

This Micronesian example graphically teaches us that for this han- dicraft to function as a successful and also correct - and thus useful - representation, plenty of information has to be imported from outside the map. For a concrete system to be practically used as a representa- tion, some indications extrinsic to the system must be supplied. Some external indications are so obviously a matter of course for the natives immersed in a particular culture that they usually remain tacit or im- plicit. Their importance can easily be disregarded by the natives and are thus easily lost under significant cultural changes. In principle, such external information can be conveyed by means of statements in a lan- guage that the members of the community who use the representation understand. In itself, a system is never a representation. This is why any entity can be used to represent any other entity. As van Fraas- sen says in what he believes to be his main contention or Hauptsatz: “There is no representation except in the sense that some things are used, made or taken, to represent some things as thus or so.” (2008, p. 23).
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Ling. (dis)curso  vol.16 número3

Ling. (dis)curso vol.16 número3

The text ends with an off-record appeal conveyed by th e metonymy “This action is in your hands ”. Although B&L do not mention metonymy as a covered politeness strategy, cognitive approaches argue that this figure of speech, like the metaphor, is conceptual in nature (LAKOFF, 1987, p. 288). Based on this argument, we will include the metonymy as part of ORPS9, in B&L categorization. Moreover, it is interesting to note that “metonymies based on body parts provide a good resource to understand human states, behavior and actions in terms of what is familiar and well-understood” (AL- ADAILEH; ABBADI, 2012, p. 73). Such resource has been used productively in communication in general and in particular by advertising. Therefore, in the utterance “This action is in your hands”, the metonymy consists in using “hands” to refer to the person as a whole. In Brazilian Portuguese, to say (metonymically) that “an action X is in somebody's hand” means that action X depends on that person. This latter meaning is well accepted by convention in this language, and is therefore clear to native speakers. Indeed, B&L (1987, p. 212) had already warned about this point when they observed that “many of the classic off-record strategies [...] are very often actually on record when used, because the clues to their interpretation [...] add up to only one really viable interpretation in the context”.
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