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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive The Neural and Cognitive Time Course of Theory of Mind

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
The Neural and Cognitive Time Course of Theory of Mind
Joseph P. McCleery,1 Andrew D. R. Surtees,1 Katharine A. Graham,1 John E. Richards,2 and Ian A. Apperly1
1School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, West Midlands, United Kingdom, and 2Department of Psychology,
University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208
Neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies implicate both frontal and temporoparietal cortices when humans reason about the
mental states of others. Here, we report an event-related potentials study of the time course of one such "theory of mind" ability: visual
perspective taking. The findings suggest that posterior cortex, perhaps the temporoparietal cortex, calculates and represents the per-
spective of self versus other, and then, later, the right frontal cortex resolves conflict between perspectives during response selection.
"Theory of mind" (ToM) judgments about what others see,
know, or think require a range of functional processes and recruit
a reliable set of brain regions (Frith and Frith, 2003; Carrington
and Bailey, 2009). It is commonly supposed that this constitutes a
ToM network, but we currently lack evidence about the timing of
these functional and neural processes in real time. Interpretations
of the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) stud-
ies argued that mPFC was of primary importance for calculating
and representing someone else's perspective (Gallagher et al.,
2000; Frith and Frith, 2003), while later studies emphasized the


Source: Apperly, Ian - School of Psychology, University of Birmingham


Collections: Biology and Medicine