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Keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer: Group membership and theory of mind

Marea Colombo, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin

Theory of Mind (ToM) is the understanding that other individuals have thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that differ from our own. Although most of the skills believed to be involved in ToM are, typically, firmly in place by adulthood, evidence from ToM related fields suggest that adults fail to use their ToM consistently. Why, if adults have the conceptual understanding and cognitive infrastructure needed to employ sophisticated ToM reasoning, do they often fail to take others’ perspectives? In this talk, I propose a deceptively simple answer: because they do not want to. Given that many of the requisite ToM skills are cognitively effortful, some of the variance in adult ToM use may be attributable to motivation. Specifically, I investigate one plausible motivational factor for ToM use in adults—group membership– focussing specifically on gender.

Date Monday, 19 November 2018
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Sciences
Event Type Seminar

William James Seminar Room 103, William James Building, 275 Leith Walk, Otago Campus



Contact Name

Norma Bartlett

Contact Phone

+64 3 479 7644





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