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πŸ“ First-Person Perspective Effects On Theory Of Mind Without Self-Reference

This study examined dissociations between brain networks involved in theory of mind, which is needed for guessing others’ mental states, and the self, which might constitute the basis for theory of mind’s development. We used event-related fMRI to compare a condition that required participants to guess the mental state of a subject featured in first-person perspective sentences (1stPP condition) with a third-person perspective sentence condition (3rdPP condition). The caudate nucleus was marginally more activated in the 1stPP than in the 3rdPP condition, while the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was significantly more activated in the 3rdPP condition as compared to the 1stPP condition. Furthermore, we examined the correlation between activation (signal intensity) of the caudate nucleus and left DLPFC with that of the right DLPFC, which is thought to be closely connected with sense of self. We found a significant correlation between caudate nucleus and right DLPFC activation in the 1stPP condition, and between left and right DLPFC activation in the 3rdPP condition. Although theory of mind and the self both appear to recruit the right DLPFC, this region seems to be accessed through the left DLPFC during theory of mind tasks, but through the caudate nucleus when tasks require self reference.

Updated on April 26, 2020

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