Why are there limits on theory of mind use? Evidence from adults' ability to follow instructions from an ignorant speaker

Ian A Apperly, Daniel J Carroll, Dana Samson, Glyn W Humphreys, Adam Qureshi, Graham Moffitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Keysar et al. (Keysar, Barr, Balin, & Brauner, 2000; Keysar, Lin, & Barr, 2003) report that adults frequently failed to use their conceptual competence for theory of mind (ToM) in an online communication game where they needed to take account of a speaker’s perspective. The current research reports 3 experiments investigating the cognitive processes contributing to adults’ errors. In Experiments 1 and 2 the frequency of adults’ failure to use ToM was unaffected by perspective switching. In Experiment 3 adults made more errors when interpreting instructions according to the speaker’s perspective than according to an arbitrary rule. We suggest that adults are efficient at switching perspectives, but that actually using what another person knows to interpret what they say is relatively inefficient, giving rise to egocentric errors during communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1217
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume63
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Theory of Mind
Aptitude
Communication
Mental Competency

Cite this

Apperly, Ian A ; Carroll, Daniel J ; Samson, Dana ; Humphreys, Glyn W ; Qureshi, Adam ; Moffitt, Graham. / Why are there limits on theory of mind use? Evidence from adults' ability to follow instructions from an ignorant speaker. In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2010 ; Vol. 63, No. 6. pp. 1201-1217.
@article{9c2d196c3bc448f8b786ce5f6ef9c9af,
title = "Why are there limits on theory of mind use? Evidence from adults' ability to follow instructions from an ignorant speaker",
abstract = "Keysar et al. (Keysar, Barr, Balin, & Brauner, 2000; Keysar, Lin, & Barr, 2003) report that adults frequently failed to use their conceptual competence for theory of mind (ToM) in an online communication game where they needed to take account of a speaker’s perspective. The current research reports 3 experiments investigating the cognitive processes contributing to adults’ errors. In Experiments 1 and 2 the frequency of adults’ failure to use ToM was unaffected by perspective switching. In Experiment 3 adults made more errors when interpreting instructions according to the speaker’s perspective than according to an arbitrary rule. We suggest that adults are efficient at switching perspectives, but that actually using what another person knows to interpret what they say is relatively inefficient, giving rise to egocentric errors during communication.",
author = "Apperly, {Ian A} and Carroll, {Daniel J} and Dana Samson and Humphreys, {Glyn W} and Adam Qureshi and Graham Moffitt",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.1080/17470210903281582",
language = "English",
volume = "63",
pages = "1201--1217",
journal = "Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology",
issn = "1747-0218",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "6",

}

Why are there limits on theory of mind use? Evidence from adults' ability to follow instructions from an ignorant speaker. / Apperly, Ian A; Carroll, Daniel J; Samson, Dana; Humphreys, Glyn W; Qureshi, Adam; Moffitt, Graham.

In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 63, No. 6, 2010, p. 1201-1217.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Why are there limits on theory of mind use? Evidence from adults' ability to follow instructions from an ignorant speaker

AU - Apperly, Ian A

AU - Carroll, Daniel J

AU - Samson, Dana

AU - Humphreys, Glyn W

AU - Qureshi, Adam

AU - Moffitt, Graham

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Keysar et al. (Keysar, Barr, Balin, & Brauner, 2000; Keysar, Lin, & Barr, 2003) report that adults frequently failed to use their conceptual competence for theory of mind (ToM) in an online communication game where they needed to take account of a speaker’s perspective. The current research reports 3 experiments investigating the cognitive processes contributing to adults’ errors. In Experiments 1 and 2 the frequency of adults’ failure to use ToM was unaffected by perspective switching. In Experiment 3 adults made more errors when interpreting instructions according to the speaker’s perspective than according to an arbitrary rule. We suggest that adults are efficient at switching perspectives, but that actually using what another person knows to interpret what they say is relatively inefficient, giving rise to egocentric errors during communication.

AB - Keysar et al. (Keysar, Barr, Balin, & Brauner, 2000; Keysar, Lin, & Barr, 2003) report that adults frequently failed to use their conceptual competence for theory of mind (ToM) in an online communication game where they needed to take account of a speaker’s perspective. The current research reports 3 experiments investigating the cognitive processes contributing to adults’ errors. In Experiments 1 and 2 the frequency of adults’ failure to use ToM was unaffected by perspective switching. In Experiment 3 adults made more errors when interpreting instructions according to the speaker’s perspective than according to an arbitrary rule. We suggest that adults are efficient at switching perspectives, but that actually using what another person knows to interpret what they say is relatively inefficient, giving rise to egocentric errors during communication.

U2 - 10.1080/17470210903281582

DO - 10.1080/17470210903281582

M3 - Article

VL - 63

SP - 1201

EP - 1217

JO - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

JF - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

SN - 1747-0218

IS - 6

ER -