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  A Model of Theory-Of-Mind Based on Action Prediction

Schultz, J., & de Vignemont, J. (2006). A Model of Theory-Of-Mind Based on Action Prediction. Poster presented at 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006), Tübingen, Germany.

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Schultz, J1, 2, Author           
de Vignemont , J, Author
1Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497797              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              


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 Abstract: Theory-of-Mind, or mentalising, is defined as a cognitive process used to understand other peoples’ actions based on mental states. Twomain theories of mentalising have been put forward in
recent years: Simulation Theory and Theory-Theory. We propose a model of mentalising based
on action prediction and semantic representation. The model would be triggered whenever a
human observer detects a potential agent (particularly other humans, but also other animals or
active entities). On the basis of their actions, it would associate a possible mental state to the
observed agent and predict its future behaviour. To do this, first a search engine would look
for a potential mental state matching an observed action in a look-up table containing actionmental
state associations acquired through experience. Then, a predictor would calculate a
possible next action for the observed agent on the basis of the mental state, and a comparator
would compare this predicted action to the actual next action of the agent. If the discrepance
between predicted and actual behaviour is greater than a threshold, the mental state is rejected
and the process repeated until a conclusive match or abandon. The predictor is postulated to be
similar to mechanisms thought to underlie motor learning or reinforcement learning, while the
look-up table could resemble semantic representations of objects or faces.
The model could also be used for active interaction with other agents: the search engine
would find an action to be executed by the observer in order to induce a particular mental state
in the observed agent. Success could be assessed by the model through observation of the other
agents’ reaction.
The neural correlates for this model are likely to be distributed and could include the posterior
part of the superior temporal sulcus, the medial prefrontal cortex, the temporal poles, the
premotor cortex and the cerebellum. To assess the plausibility of the model and test possible
associations between particular neural structures and the components of the model, we review
previous studies of the neural correlates of mentalising and some associated processes.


 Dates: 2006-03
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: BibTex Citekey: 4828
 Degree: -


Title: 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006)
Place of Event: Tübingen, Germany
Start-/End Date: 2006-03-03 - 2006-03-05

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Title: 9th Tübingen Perception Conference: TWK 2006
Source Genre: Proceedings
Bülthoff, HH1, Editor           
Gillner, S, Editor
Mallot, HA, Editor           
Ulrich, R, Editor
1 Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497794            
Publ. Info: Kirchentellinsfurt, Germany : Knirsch
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 69 Identifier: ISBN: 3-927091-73-1