Bertram Malle, Professor, Brown University

 

Bertram Malle, Professor, Brown University

Sage 4101

March 20, 2013 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

 

 Abstract:

To manage social interactions, people use behavior to infer mental states and use mental states to interpret behavior.  This seeming circularity is in fact a sophisticated integration of multiple inferences that allows humans to have a “theory of mind.”  One mechanism that enables such integration is the hierarchical organization of inferences.  I describe two lines of research that examine such hierarchies.  The first set of studies shows that inferences of intentionality and desire are easier and faster than inferences of beliefs, which are themselves easier and faster than inferences of personality.  The second set of studies shows that when people make judgments of blame they draw inferences about causality, intentionality, and mental states in a systematic hierarchical order.  Along the way I also describe novel experimental paradigms that we developed to adequately assess multiple inferences and their relationships.

Is There a Hierarchy of Social Inferences?  The Likelihood and Speed of Inferring Intentionality, Mind and Personality

Moral, Cognitive, and Social The Nature of Blame

 

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