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Human Social Interaction perspectives from neuroscience Dr. Roger Newport Room B47 Drop-in Times: Tuesdays 12-1 & 3-4

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Presentation on theme: "Human Social Interaction perspectives from neuroscience Dr. Roger Newport Room B47 Drop-in Times: Tuesdays 12-1 & 3-4"— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Social Interaction perspectives from neuroscience Dr. Roger Newport Room B47 Drop-in Times: Tuesdays 12-1 & 3-4 Understanding Minds: MNS and Theory of Mind 1

2 Previously… MNs and action understanding Now… MNs and intentions, simulation and problems with this idea Can the ability to understand actions lead to the ability to understand beliefs, desires and intentions? Is activity on a theory of mind task evidence for a theory of mind module in the brain?

3 All actions involve a covert stage including: its goal the means to achieve it and its consequences. These covert representations may be activated under a variety of conditions in relation to action, e.g.: self-intended action imagined action action perceived from other individuals Previously…understanding actions 2

4 Importantly… Action representations are subconsciously activated by observation of another’s action Clearly, such a mechanism could be useful for informing us about what someone has just done (i.e. what their action was), But, because these representations include the goal of an action and its potential consequences, can they tell us what another person will do next, what their intentions are, and what their beliefs or desires are? Can action simulation provide a gateway to theory of mind? Previously…understanding actions 2b

5 We naturally explain people’s behaviour on the basis of their minds: their knowledge, their beliefs and their desires when there is a conflict between belief and reality it is the belief, not the reality that determines behaviour. ToM is… the process(es) by which most healthy human adults attribute unobservable mental states to others … …and integrate these attributed states into a single coherent model that can be used to explain and predict another’s behaviour. (Gopnik & Meltzoff, 1997) Theory of Mind (ToM) - a definition 3

6 Explaining behaviour in this way is called ‘having a theory of mind’ or ‘having an intentional stance.’ We recognise that another person’s knowledge, beliefs and desires are different to our own. These skills develop during childhood Theory of Mind (ToM) - a definition 3a

7 Infants engage in pretend play at around 18 months Friedman and Leslie 2006 (drinking from cup filled with pretend water) But violations in pretend play (drinking from the wrong cup (and shoes)) are detected from 15 months. Onishi et al., Verbal understanding of the verb ‘to pretend’ doesn’t occur until much later (3-4 yrs). Children understand what people desire (age 3) before they understand what they believe (age 4). Rakoczy et al., (“This way!”, “No! That way!”) Fictional worlds do not collide. Batman thinks Spongebob is fictional (age 4). Skolnick and Bloom Mar et al., Bookworms vs. Nerds. Lifetime fiction readers have better social skills than lifetime non- fiction readers and are more likely to empathise with others. 4 Development of pretense and beliefs

8 Where will Sally look for her ball? Sally has not seen the ball being moved and therefore falsely believes that the ball is still in the basket. One of ToM milestones Passed by 5 year olds, some 4’s, but very few 3’s. Autistics and some brain damaged patients perform poorly 5 A typical/traditional test for ToM: The Sally-Anne task

9 Sally-Anne task requires working memory and reality inhibition: false photograph task is the same in all respects other than mental state attribution 6 For imaging studies you need the correct controls e.g.

10 Non-verbal ToM task PET study. Brunet et al., 2000 Story Proposed answers Attribution of intention condition Physical causality with charactersPhysical causality with objects Make sure you use the correct controls 7

11 My own theory of mind story Roger is a lecturer. He owns a bike. He took it to work one day, but it broke so he left it in university-approved secure cycle storage. While Roger was in his office, security came along and moved it to another part of the campus. Some time later Roger went to check on his bike. Where did Roger look for his bike? 8

12 My own theory of mind story Roger is a lecturer. He owns a bike. He took it to work one day, but it broke so he left it in university-approved secure cycle storage. While Roger was in his office, security came along and moved it to another part of the campus. Some time later Roger went to check on his bike. Where did Roger look for his bike? Roger has a false belief. He thinks that the bike is in the secure area, but we know otherwise. In order to answer this question we have to suspend our knowledge of reality and entertain Roger’s false belief. According to Baron-Cohen this is the acid test for possessing theory of mind. Can this be done by simulation? 8a

13 (1) simulation of actions: we can activate motor structures of the brain in a way that resembles activity during a normal action but does not cause any overt movement; (2) simulation of perception: imagining perceiving something is essentially the same as actually perceiving it, only the perceptual activity is generated by the brain itself rather than by external stimuli; (3) anticipation: a simulated action can elicit perceptual activity that resembles the activity that would have occurred if the action had actually been performed. Hesslow’s account of simulation, 2002 Simulation has 3 core attributes Simulating intentions From motor to mind simulation 9

14 Simulating intentions 10 Imagine going to look for the bike Who did you imagine?

15 Roger went to check on his bike only to find that it wasn’t there. What did Roger think? Roger walked around disconsolately, worrying about his bike’s disappearance and planning to call the police as soon as he returned to his office. In his absent-minded meanderings he passed an area where other bicycles were parked…and there was his bike, uncovered and locked up, but not with his lock. What did Roger think? What would you think? 12 Back to the story

16 Goldman’s account of full on simulation, 2002, In order to understand the mental state of another when observing the other acting, the individual imagines themselves performing the same action. This is a covert simulation that does not lead to any overt behaviour. Note: In trying to attribute mental states to others, an attributor has to set aside their own current mental states and substitute those of the other person (Goldman, 2005). They must put themselves in the ‘mental shoes’ of the other person. Simulating intentions 11

17 It turned out that Security had, without his permission, carried his bike out of the secure area and locked it up somewhere else without trying to contact him or leaving a note on the bike to explain their actions. What would you do? A. Call the police, just to annoy security when the police arrived to investigate and found that their time had been wasted? B. Call security and ask them politely if they wouldn’t mind unlocking his bike? C. Shout down the phone at security and tell them where they could shove their £50 clamping fine? D. Take a pair of bolt-croppers and liberate the bike while causing deliberate and wanton damage to security property (the lock)… and keeping the chain? 13

18 It turned out that Security had, without his permission, carried his bike out of the secure area and locked it up somewhere else without trying to contact him or leaving a note on the bike to explain their actions. What did Roger do? A. Call the police, just to annoy security when the police arrived to investigate and found that their time had been wasted? B. Call security and ask them politely if they wouldn’t mind unlocking his bike? C. Shout down the phone at security and tell them where they could shove their £50 clamping fine? D. Take a pair of bolt-croppers and liberate the bike while causing deliberate and wanton damage to security property (the lock)… and keeping the chain? 13

19 In order to perform this task by simulation we need to: set aside our own current mental states be able to imagine ourselves performing these actions be able to attribute the resultant mental states to the other person These can mostly achieved through low-level domain- specific mechanisms 14

20 In order to perform this task by theory we need to: Inhibit the pre-potent response (inhibit what we know to be the truth using executive control) Know things about objects and locations (e.g. what a bike is/does, using stored representations of things, places and experiences) Know things about people and the way they behave in certain situations (e.g. specific person knowledge using stereotypes and folk psychology) These are all higher-level domain-general mechanisms 14

21 But you don’t know anything about me. Knowledge beyond action understanding is sometimes necessary to know the intentions behind an action 15

22 29

23 When the observers judged the actions to reflect a false belief, there was activation in the superior temporal sulcus, orbitofrontal, paracingulate cortex and cerebellum. Grezes et al., 2004 humans are not only able to recognize actions from observation, but can also predict and infer underlying causes, intentions and beliefs from the behaviour of others. 30 ToM by Simulation False belief from action observation

24 Failure to interpret actions correctly in ASD 31

25 So what do we know about lecturers? Poor IT skills were also criticised Attempts at being trendy “insufferable” That’ so phat man! Ave-it! According to 2006 survey in THES I’m not at clown college …lack of hygiene Snooty” and have “objectionable facial hair” 16

26 Other, better researched stereotypes Race: Men with sticks and guns Cunningham et al., 2004 White men viewing black v white 30ms (unconscious) or 525 ms (conscious) faces. Greater amygdala activity at 30 ms (in those with high IAT scores). At 525 ms amygdala activity modulated by… 17

27 Cunningham et al., Good vs. Bad Good vs. Bad (vs. Past-present) on famous names ‘Bad’ activated the amygdala Good-Bad judgments activated medial and ventrolateral PFC Gender: Milne and Grafman 2001 Compared male patients with PFC lesions on gender IAT task Dorsolateral PFC performed as controls on IAT (i.e. sexist) VentroMEDIAL PFC showed impaired automatic bias 18 More, better researched stereotypes

28 a decisions about objects (Goel, 1995) b stories (Fletcher, 1995) c pictures (Brunet et al., 2000) d stories (Vogeley et al., 2001) e stories (Gallagher, 2000) f animated geometric shapes (Castelli, 2000) Imaging studies of ToM: 3 main regions 19 MPFC ACC vs APCC

29 Bio motion and interpretation of action/intentions of others STS/TPJ 20 Predominantly right Imaging studies of ToM: 3 main regions a-f as previous slide

30 Episodic memory retrieval facts about of people, places and personal experiences. Involved in pictures and stories, irrespective of mentalising? Plus other ‘social brain’ regions + amygdala responds automatically to socially salient stimuli and SM has some mentalising deficits (e.g. geometric shapes) + OFC involved in empathy (Hynes et al., 2006) & more complex ToM tasks Temporal poles: predominantly left 21 Imaging studies of ToM: 3 main regions

31 a decisions about objects (Goel, 1995) b stories (Fletcher, 1995) c pictures (Brunet et al., 2000) d stories (Vogeley et al., 2001) e stories (Gallagher, 2000) f animated geometric shapes (Castelli, 2000) Imaging studies of ToM: 3 main regions 19 MPFC Bird et al., 2004

32 So, on the one hand, theory of mind might be performed by simulation using mirror neurons in parietal and inferior frontal regions (perhaps in connection with STS) While on the other hand imaging studies of theory of mind highlight totally different areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex, the temporal poles, temporoparietal junction, orbitofrontal cortex and the amydgala Furthermore, you can have lesions to any of the ‘ToM areas’ and still perform theory of mind. How are these different areas involved? Is there a core/dedicated ToM module? 22

33 In recent weeks we have looked at domain-specific lower-level mechanisms crucial to human social interaction such as emotion recognition, eye gaze detection, direction of attention detection, biological motion detection and action recognition They are dependent on domain-specific neural circuitry and their normal functioning is an essential precursor to normal ToM performance. But are they sufficient by themselves for sophisticated ToM mechanisms to process social information? 24

34 Gaze monitoring Biological motion Joint attention Emotion recognition Face processing Executive function Metarepresentation Recursion EF - keeps social elements in mind & inhibits knowledge of reality M - operates on eye gaze etc. - who saw what (+ who knew what) R - operates on Ms of mental states - allows reasoning about not just other’s thoughts, but other’s thoughts about other’s thoughts Stone and Gerrans (2006) The outputs of lower-level (domain- specific) mechanisms are used for inferences by higher level (domain-general) mechanisms 23 Not sufficient for ToM

35 Deficits on ToM tasks can result from deficits in low-level social input systems (e.g. joint attention) or in higher-level domain-general capacities. Children with autism have deficits not only on ToM tests, but also in face-processing, gaze monitoring and joint attention. All known cases of patients with ToM deficits arising from brain lesions involve deficits in either low-level social input systems or higher-level domain-general abilities…

36 Orbitofrontal patients with deficits on ToM tasks have lower- level social deficits in face-processing and tracking intentions. medial frontal and temporoparietal junction (TPJ) patients have either executive function deficits, general metarepresentational deficits, or no ToM deficits. Is there a neural substrate of the fabled ToM module? Probably not. May be more useful to focus on uniquely human domain-general abilities

37 In recent weeks we have looked at domain-specific lower-level mechanisms crucial to human social interaction such as emotion recognition, eye gaze detection, direction of attention detection, biological motion detection and action recognition They are dependent on domain-specific neural circuitry and their normal functioning is an essential precursor to normal ToM performance. But are they sufficient by themselves for sophisticated ToM mechanisms to process social information? Deficits on ToM tasks may result from deficits in low-level social input systems (e.g. joint attention) or in higher-level mechanisms (e.g. executive function). So is it possible to find a pure independent ToM deficit or single ToM mechanism anywhere in the brain? 24

38 Break After the break TT vs ST

39 ToM by Theory-theory e.g. Churchland 1991 ToM through knowledge of the laws of behaviour Non-intentional causal relationships A person who does not eat will feel hunger A person who gets hurt will feel pain Intentional causal relationships A person who picks a cup by the handle wants to drink from it A person who picks up a cup by the top wants to move it It does not need knowledge of psychology or even your own mind, simply knowledge of the laws themselves. Anyone, including Martians, who knows the laws can make predictions about another’s behaviour through proper use of the laws. False belief by TT: A person (Sally) who hasn’t seen the ball moved will look in the original location 25

40 Intentional causal relationships A person who picks a cup by the handle wants to drink from it A person who picks up a cup by the top wants to move it Jeannerod: There are subtle, but detectable differences in the kinematics of a movement depending on the final goal of that movement (e.g. picking an object up to place it on the top vs. bottom shelf + see next slide Rizzolatti and Craighero, 1995: 2/3 of mirror neurons in IPL that code for grasping code for grasping in order to eat vs. grasping to move 26 ToM by Simulation Intentional causal relationships by ST

41 The right inferior frontal mirror neuron area responds differently to the sight of the same grasping action embedded in different contexts suggesting different intentions. This demonstrates that the MNS codes the intention of the observed action. Iacoboni et al., 2005 ToM by Simulation Intentional causal relationships by ST 27

42

43 When the observers judged the actions to reflect a false belief, there was activation in the superior temporal sulcus, orbitofrontal, paracingulate cortex and cerebellum. Grezes et al., 2004 humans are not only able to recognize actions from observation, but can also predict and infer underlying causes, intentions and beliefs from the behaviour of others. 28 ToM by Simulation False belief from action observation

44 ToM and false belief by simulation e.g. Gordon, 1995, 1996 A radical simulationist We understand others’ minds by imagining ourselves in their situation Children can pass the false belief task by imagining the world from the other’s point of view. I [Sally] believe the marble is in the basket = the marble is in the basket I believe p = p No concept of belief is necessary, just the ability to have beliefs. 29 ToM by Simulation False belief does not require a concept of belief

45 A theory of mind story answered using TT or ST Roger is a lecturer. He owns a bike. He took it to work one day, but it broke so he left it in university-approved secure cycle storage. While Roger was in his office, security came along and moved it to another part of the campus. Some time later Roger went to check on his bike. Where did Roger look for his bike? TT: Where do people look for things? Where they last saw them/usually see them ST: Generate a covert mental representation of Roger going to look for his bike. 30 Meanwhile, back at the bike sheds…

46 Roger went to check on his bike only to find that it wasn’t there. What did Roger think? TT: what do people think when something they think/know should be there isn’t? ST: Generate covert mental representation of Roger perceiving the absence of his bike. Then what? Generate feelings as if it were me = sadness, surprise, anger, befuddlement. Then what? Generate a mental representation of what I would think if Roger were me and attribute that thought to Roger. How do I know what I would think? TT that’s how. 31

47 It turned out that Security had, without his permission, carried his bike out of the secure area and locked it up somewhere else without trying to contact him or leaving a note on the bike to explain their actions. What did Roger do based on what we know about lecturers? 33

48 lecturers are stuck-up, disorganised, unpunctual, unfunny, badly dressed and too desperate to be "hip". academics are "snooty" and have "objectionable facial hair". lectures assume that undergraduates are lazy. Academics' have poor information technology skills. They try to be funny and trendy. They look down on students and have a lack of hygiene. Lecturer stereotypes according to a bunch of soap-dodgers 34

49 What did Roger do? A. Call the police, just to annoy security when the police arrived to investigate and found that their time had been wasted? B. Call security and ask them politely if they wouldn’t mind unlocking his bike? C. Shout down the phone at security and tell them where they could shove their £50 clamping fine? D. Take a pair of bolt-croppers and liberate the bike while causing deliberate and wanton damage to security property (the lock)… and keeping the chain? So, given what we now know about lecturers…. That’ so phat man! Ave-it! 35

50 36 Simulation is so simple.

51 Argument from error (e.g. Kruger and Gilovich, 1999) couples asked about responsibility for good/bad events in own married life and then about how spouse would assignresponsibility. Predictions for spouse did not match own or spouses own scores. Not predicted by ST. Even if we could perform ToM by simulation, it might not be the way we do it Saxe, 2005 Attribution of intentions from TT and ST are not always compatible. The brain regions associated with TT and ST do not overlap 37

52 Doesn’t work Not parsimonious ToM adjusts pretend inputs to match current situation ST feeds into TT 38 Unmediated resonance

53 ST or TT? A hybrid? Why not both? The brain has been cobbled together through evolution and makes use of the functions it already has. Finding times at which people do not simulate does not mean that they cannot simulate or never simulate (and vice versa for TT) Both systems, developed for difference reasons, could coexist and work together or separately. Damage to either system causes some, but not all, ToM deficits. There is probably not a single ToM mechanism. 40

54 Summary We can understand others’ intentions by simulation We can’t (always) understand others’ intentions by simulation We can understand others’ intentions by theory We don’t need theory brain structures to perform ToM Simulation and Theory areas of the brain do not overlap Simulation and Theory (in theory) could overlap How does it really work, and how could you tell?

55 Next Week A bit more of this And a lot more interesting recent studies


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