Visualizing Theory of Mind with Multiple Intrinsic Frames of Reference

Chen LiangUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Yanlong SunTexas A&M University Health Science Center
Hongbin WangTexas A&M University Health Science Center

Abstract

Research in the field of spatial cognition has advocated a frame of reference (FOR) -based cognitive representation system to account for human’s spatial reasoning and navigation capacities. It has been argued that such mental models may also contribute to the underlying mechanisms of Theory of Mind (ToM). In the present study, we investigated how people made rapid judgments about the number of visible objects from their own perspectives (egocentric frame of reference, EFOR) and from others’ perspectives (intrinsic frame of reference, IFOR). We examined both behavioral and eye tracking responses, and the results suggest that a FOR-based representation system promotes the efficiency and flexibility of ToM functions. Our findings support the notion of a possible conceptual link between spatial and social cognitive processes.

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