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Published December 2018 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

The social neuroscience of mentalizing: challenges and recommendations


Our ability to understand and think about the mental states of other people is referred to as "mentalizing" or "theory of mind". It features prominently in all social behavior, is essential for maintaining relationships, and shows pronounced individual differences. Here we review new approaches to study the underlying psychological mechanisms and discuss how they could best be investigated using modern tools from social neuroscience. We list key desiderata for the field, such as validity, specificity, and reproducibility, and link them to specific recommendations for the future. We also discuss new computational modeling approaches, and the application to psychopathology.

Additional Information

© 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Received 2 December 2017, Revised 12 February 2018, Accepted 20 February 2018, Available online 27 February 2018. We thank David Amodio, Julian Jara-Ettinger, Hilary Richardson and Rebecca Saxe for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Funded in part by the Caltech Conte Center for the Neurobiology of Social Decision-Making (NIMH).

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Accepted Version - nihms950572.pdf


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October 18, 2023