•  1250
    The predominant view in developmental psychology is that young children are able to reason with the concept of desire prior to being able to reason with the concept of belief. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon that focuses on the cognitive tasks that competence with the belief and desire concepts enable young children to perform. We show that cognitive tasks that are typically considered fundamental to our competence with the belief and desire concepts can be performed with the concep…Read more
  •  704
    Applying the causal theory of reference to intentional concepts
    Philosophy of Science 80 (2): 212-230. 2013.
    We argue that many recent philosophical discussions about the reference of everyday concepts of intentional states have implicitly been predicated on descriptive theories of reference. To rectify this, we attempt to demonstrate how a causal theory can be applied to intentional concepts. Specifically, we argue that some phenomena in early social de- velopment ðe.g., mimicry, gaze following, and emotional contagionÞ can serve as refer- ence fixers that enable children to track others’ intentional …Read more
  •  122
    In recent years, there has been a great deal of controversy in the philosophy of mind, developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience both about how to conceptualize empathy and about the connections between empathy and interpersonal understanding. Ideally, we would first establish a consensus about how to conceptualize empathy, and then analyze the potential contribution of empathy to interpersonal understanding. However, it is not at all clear that such a consensus will soon be forthcomin…Read more
  •  103
    Shared Emotions and Joint Action
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2): 355-373. 2011.
    In recent years, several minimalist accounts of joint action have been offered (e.g. Tollefsen Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35:75–97, 2005; Sebanz et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(6): 234–1246, 2006; Vesper et al. Neural Networks 23 (8/9): 998–1003, 2010), which seek to address some of the shortcomings of classical accounts. Minimalist accounts seek to reduce the cognitive complexity demanded by classical accounts either by leaving out shared i…Read more
  •  90
    Mindreading as social expertise
    Synthese 191 (5): 1-24. 2014.
    In recent years, a number of approaches to social cognition research have emerged that highlight the importance of embodied interaction for social cognition (Reddy, How infants know minds, 2008; Gallagher, J Conscious Stud 8:83–108, 2001; Fuchs and Jaegher, Phenom Cogn Sci 8:465–486, 2009; Hutto, in Seemans (ed.) Joint attention: new developments in psychology, philosophy of mind and social neuroscience, 2012). Proponents of such ‘interactionist’ approaches emphasize the importance of embodied r…Read more
  •  66
    Interactionism and Mindreading
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3): 559-578. 2011.
    In recent years, a number of theorists have developed approaches to social cognition that highlight the centrality of social interaction as opposed to mindreading (e.g. Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ; Gallagher 2001 , 2007 , 2008 ; Hobson 2002 ; Reddy 2008 ; Hutto 2004 ; De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher and Di Paolo 2007 ; Fuchs and De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher et al. 2010 ). There are important differences among these approaches, as I will discuss, but they are united by their commitment to the claim t…Read more
  •  65
    The interactive turn in social cognition research: A critique
    Philosophical Psychology 28 (2): 160-183. 2015.
    Proponents of the so-called “interactive turn in social cognition research” maintain that mainstream research on social cognition has been fundamentally flawed by its neglect of social interaction, and that a new paradigm is needed in order to redress this shortcoming. We argue that proponents of the interactive turn (“interactionists”) have failed to properly substantiate their criticisms of existing research on social cognition. Although it is sometimes unclear precisely what these criticisms …Read more
  •  55
    In this paper, I show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants and young children to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content, i.e., to the notion that the distal content of a mental representation is fixed by the core body of knowledge that is associated with that mental representation. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it …Read more
  •  50
    Mental Actions and Mental Agency
    with Anika Fiebich
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4): 683-693. 2015.
  •  43
    Mirror systems and simulation: a neo-empiricist interpretation (review)
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4): 565-582. 2012.
    It is often claimed that the discovery of mirror neurons supports simulation theory (ST). There has been much controversy about this, however, as there are various competing models of the functional contribution of mirror systems, only some of which characterize mirroring as simulation in the sense required by ST. But a brief review of these models reveals that they all include simulation in some sense . In this paper, I propose that the broader conception of simulation articulated by neo-empiri…Read more
  •  36
    How direct is social perception?
    Consciousness and Cognition 36 373-375. 2015.
  •  34
    Four models of the functional contribution of mirror systems
    Philosophical Explorations 14 (2). 2011.
    Four distinct models of the functional contribution of mirror neurons to social cognition can be distinguished: direct matching, inverse modeling, response modeling, and predictive coding. Each entails a different way in which an agent's own capacities for action and affective experience contribute to understanding and/or predicting others' actions and affective experience. In this paper, the four models and their theoretical frameworks are elucidated, empirical data and theoretical arguments be…Read more
  •  33
    The main aim of this article is to give an assessment of prediction error minimization as a unifying theoretical framework for the study of social cognition. We show how this framework can be used to synthesize and systematically relate existing data from social cognition research, and explain how it introduces new constraints for further research. We discuss PEM in relation to other theoretical frameworks of social cognition, and identify the main challenges that this approach to social cogniti…Read more
  •  33
    In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which …Read more
  •  30
    In the current paper, we present and discuss a series of experiments in which we investigated people’s willingness to ascribe intentions, as well as blame and praise, to groups. The experiments draw upon the so-called “Knobe Effect”. Knobe [2003. “Intentional action and side effects in ordinary language.” Analysis 63: 190–194] found that the positiveness or negativeness of side-effects of actions influences people’s assessment of whether those side-effects were brought about intentionally, and a…Read more
  •  30
    In a recent article in Philosophy of Science, De Vignemont and Jacob defend the view that empathy involves interpersonal similarity between an empathizer and a target person with respect to internal affective states. Focusing on empathy for pain, they propose a theory of the neural substrate of pain empathy. We point out several flaws in their interpretation of the data and argue that currently available data do not differentiate between De Vignemont and Jacob’s model and alternative models. Fin…Read more
  •  29
    Can the perception that one’s partner is investing effort generate a sense of commitment to a joint action? To test this, we developed a 2-player version of the classic snake game which became increasingly boring over the course of each round. This enabled us to operationalize commitment in terms of how long participants persisted before pressing a ‘finish’ button to conclude each round. Our results from three experiments reveal that participants persisted longer when they perceived what they be…Read more
  •  29
    Observing joint action: Coordination creates commitment
    with Natalie Sebanz and Günther Knoblich
    Cognition 157 106-113. 2016.
  •  25
    In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which …Read more
  •  22
  •  19
    Emergence–still trendy after all these years
    In R. Creath (ed.), Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook, Springer Verlag. pp. 169--180. 2012.
    Ever since the heyday of British Emergentism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries , discussions of emergence have been a fairly constant source of titillation as well as controversy and confusion. Different authors have used the terms “emergence” and “emergentism” to characterize a myriad related but distinct conceptions, spanning fields as various as physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, psychology, robotics and philosophy
  •  19
    Domain-specific and domain-general processes in social perception – A complementary approach
    with Alessandro D’Ausilio
    Consciousness and Cognition 36 434-437. 2015.
    In this brief discussion, we explicate and evaluate Heyes and colleagues’ deflationary approach to interpreting apparent evidence of domain-specific processes for social percep- tion. We argue that the deflationary approach sheds important light on how functionally specific processes in social perception can be subserved at least in part by domain-general processes. On the other hand, we also argue that the fruitfulness of this approach has been unnecessarily hampered by a contrastive conception…Read more
  •  18
  •  18
    The Developmental Origins of Commitment
    with Marcell Székely
    Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1): 106-123. 2018.
  •  16
    Using episodic memory to gauge implicit and/or indeterminate social commitments
    with Marcell Székely and Wayne Christensen
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41. 2018.
  •  14
    Goal Slippage: A Mechanism for Spontaneous Instrumental Helping in Infancy?
    with Marcell Székely
    Topoi 38 (1): 173-183. 2019.
    In recent years, developmental psychologists have increasingly been interested in various forms of prosocial behavior observed in infants and young children—in particular comforting, sharing, pointing to provide information, and spontaneous instrumental helping. We briefly review several models that have been proposed to explain the psychological mechanisms underpinning these behaviors. Focusing on spontaneous instrumental helping, we home in on models based upon what Paulus :77–81, 2014) has du…Read more