From two systems to a multi-systems architecture for mindreading

Wayne Christensen*, John Michael

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper critically examines Apperly and Butterfill's parallel 'two systems' theory of mindreading and argues instead for a cooperative multi-systems architecture. The minimal mindreading system (system 1) described by Butterfill and Apperly is unable to explain the flexibility of infant belief representation or fast and efficient mindreading in adults, and there are strong reasons for thinking that infant belief representation depends on executive cognition and general semantic memory. We propose that schemas, causal representation and mental models help to explain the representational flexibility of infant mindreading and give an alternative interpretation of evidence that has been taken to show automatic, fast and efficient belief representation in adults.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-64
    Number of pages17
    JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Development
    • False belief
    • Representation
    • Social cognition
    • Theory of mind


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