The Degree of Theory-of-Mind: Differentiating Mentalizing from Visual Processing (78987)

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Session: On Demand
Room: Virtual Poster Presentation
Presentation Type: Virtual Poster Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

It has been suggested that humans have an automatic system for representing others’ mental states, called Theory-of-Mind (ToM). However, whether various ToM tasks can definitively demonstrate a process of mentalization or visuospatial processing is still under debate. Using a newly developed computerized ToM task, Bio et al. (2018) found that people with a natural bias towards processing space to their left represent a cartoon character’s thoughts about objects on their left side more quickly, as were people with a bias towards the right. This indicates that people’s ToM ability can be reflected by spatial bias, which provides a novel way to measure individual differences, i.e., the degree of ToM. To prove this task measures people's ToM ability instead of visual processing that is also contained in the original task, we added an inanimate camera task (a non-social task) and took its result as a control variable in determining the relationship between spatial bias and the cartoon task (a social task). The result shows that spatial bias measured by a line bisection task was significantly correlated with the cartoon task when the camera task was controlled as a covariate, indicating that using the computerized ToM task to measure the degree of ToM ability is experimentally and scientifically feasible. One possible explanation for these results is that processing one's own spatial bias and the socially cognitive act of perspective-taking may share the same underlying neural mechanisms to some extent.

Jingyi Hu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Yu Li, Beijing Normal University & Hong Kong Baptist University United International College, China

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Jingyi HU is a University Postgraduate Student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen in China

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00