Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Theory of Mind Is Independent of Episodic Memory

This is the title of a brief article by Rosenbaum et al. in the 23 Nov. Science. The authors studied two patients who, as a result of severe traumatic brain injury, lost their ability to consciously recollect personal happenings from their own lives. They applied an array of tests widely used tests known to be sensitive to perspective-taking and Theory of Mind impairment (False belief, animations, sarcasm and empathy, visual perspective-taking/deception). The subjects with brain injury performed as well as controls. These results are at variance with the idea that the ability to simulate or reconstruct one's own past mental states is necessary to imagine the contents of other people's minds. (This doesn't say anything about whether this ability was necessary for the development of Theory of Mind capabilities before the brain injury occurred.)

No comments:

Post a Comment