The Structure and Dynamic of Mental State Representations
The SDOS Colloquium Series Welcomes Dr. Nicholas Joyce
About the Speaker
Dr. Tamir is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Princeton University.
The social mind is tailored to the problem of predicting other people. Imagine trying to navigate the social world without understanding that tired people tend to become frustrated, or that frustrated people tend to lash out. Our social interactions depend on the ability to anticipate others’ actions, and we rely on knowledge about their mental state (i.e., tired, frustrated) to do so. I will present a multi-layered framework of social cognition that helps to explain how people represent the richness and complexity of others’ minds, and how they use this representation to predict others’ actions. First, I provide neuroimaging and behavioral evidence that people use a simple structure to represent others’ mental states. This structure is defined by three psychological dimensions, and can account for almost half of the variation in neural patterns of activity during mentalizing. Next, I outline a formal model for how people predict others’ mental states and actions. Using large-scale experience-sampling studies and Markov modeling, I demonstrate that people employ mental models of emotion dynamics that accurately predict others’ mental state transitions. Together, these findings demonstrate how the social mind might leverage both the structure and dynamics of mental state representations to make predictions about the social world.
All are welcome!
For details on the Social, Decision, and Organizational Sciences (SDOS) Fall 2016 Colloquium Series, see http://www.sdos.umd.edu/News.html