Various Ways to Understand Other Minds

Towards a Pluralistic Approach to the Explanation of Social Understanding

Anika Fiebich*, Max Coltheart

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    In this article, we propose a pluralistic approach to the explanation of social understanding that integrates literature from social psychology with the theory of mind debate. Social understanding in everyday life is achieved in various ways. As a rule of thumb we propose that individuals make use of whatever procedure is cognitively least demanding to them in a given context. Aside from theory and simulation, associations of behaviors with familiar agents play a crucial role in social understanding. This role has been neglected so far. We illustrate the roles of fluency and associations in social understanding in false belief tasks.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-258
    Number of pages24
    JournalMind and Language
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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