- Oxford Library of Psychology
- Oxford Library of Psychology
- About the Editors
- Introduction to The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience: Cognitive Neuroscience: Where Are We Now?
- Salience, State, and Expression: The Influence of Specific Aspects of Emotion on Attention and Perception
- Emotion: Generation or Construction?
- The Neuroscience of Emotion Regulation: Basic Mechanisms and Their Role in Development, Aging, and Psychopathology
- The Impact of Emotion on Cognition
- Genetics and Emotion
- Visceromotor Sensation and Control
- Development of Emotion and Social Reasoning in Adolescence
- Perception of Nonverbal Cues
- Face Recognition
- The Cognitive and Neural Basis of Impression Formation
- Theory of Mind: How Brains Think about Thoughts
- The Pleasures and Pains of Social Interactions: A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective
- The Neural Underpinnings of the Experience of Empathy: Lessons for Psychopathy
- Mirror Neurons and the Perception–Action Link
- The Early Development of the Brain Bases for Social Cognition
- Conflict Monitoring and Cognitive Control
- Hierarchical Cognitive Control and the Functional Organization of the Frontal Cortex
- Decision Neuroscience
- Expectancies and Beliefs: Insights from Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience of Numerical Cognition
- Psychopharmacology of Cognition
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia Considered from a Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective
- The Neurobiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Epilogue to The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience Cognitive Neuroscience: Where Are We Going?
Abstract and Keywords
In the last decade, cognitive neuroscience research has begun to address key questions concerning Theory of Mind (ToM). Are there distinct brain regions for ToM? What are (and aren’t) those regions doing? This chapter reviews evidence suggesting that key regions support social cognition, thinking about people (medial prefrontal cortex [MPFC]), and ToM, or thinking about thoughts (right temporoparietal junction [RTPJ]). Although we do appear to “simulate” others’ actions (e.g., motor repertoires) and experiences (e.g., pain), the MPFC and RTPJ do not support social cognition and ToM via simulation. Evidence is presented showing that activity in these regions is not modulated by first-person experience or similarity between self and target. People can understand and evaluate others’ actions, even when those actions depend on beliefs and desires they don’t share or have never experienced. The chapter concludes with questions for the next decade of cognitive neuroscientific research regarding ToM.
Rebecca Saxe, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
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