Lab Director: Diana Tamir, PhD

Understanding Others' Minds

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One person can never truly know the contents of another person’s mind. Despite the inherent opacity of others’ thoughts, feelings, and intentions, humans are actually quite proficient at inferring others’ invisible, internal mental states—a capacity known as mentalizing. The lab uses behavioral and neuroimaging methods to explore the processes that allow us to accomplish these mind reading feats. For example, research has explored the cognitive processes underlying social inferences, such as egocentric anchoring and adjustment (Tamir & Mitchell, 2010; Tamir & Mitchell, 2013). We have also used multivariate pattern analyses of neuroimaging data to uncover the psychological dimensions that shape our neural representations of others’ mental states (Tamir, Thornton, Contreras, & Mitchell, 2016). Current projects should shed light on how people mentalize about dissimilar others, what constitutes similarity, and how these processes and representations change when the other person is liked, disliked, or hated, and familiar or unfamiliar.

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