Triggering the intentional stance

Raymond A. Mar, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While humans possess a ready capacity to view a target (biological or otherwise) as an intentional agent (i.e. the 'intentional stance'), the conditions necessary for spontaneously eliciting these mentalizing processes are less well understood. Although research examining people's tendency to construe the motion of geometric shapes as intentional has done much to illuminate this issue, due to methodological limitations (a reliance on subjective self-report) this work has not fully addressed the potentially automatic and obligatory nature of mentalizing. Acknowledging this problem, recent research using prelinguistic infants, neuroimaging technology and methods that avoid explicit self-report all provide unique paths to circumvent this shortcoming. While work of this kind has generally corroborated the results of previous investigations, it has also raised a number of new issues. One such issue is whether spontaneous mentalizing processes for abstract non-biological stimuli are instantiated in the same neural architecture as those for realistic representations of intentional biological agents. This question is considered in the current chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmpathy and Fairness
Pages111-120
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006

Publication series

NameNovartis Foundation Symposium
Volume278
ISSN (Print)1528-2511

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  • Cite this

    Mar, R. A., & Macrae, C. N. (2006). Triggering the intentional stance. In Empathy and Fairness (pp. 111-120). (Novartis Foundation Symposium; Vol. 278).