Vinod Goel, Jordan Grafman, Norihiro Sadato, Mark Hallett
Modeling other minds
Neuroreport 6. 13 (Sep 1995): 1741-1746


Nine college students performed a "theory of mind" task while their regional brain blood flow pattern was recorded using positron emission tomography. Subjects made decisions about familiar and unfamiliar objects under four conditions: visual description, memory retrieval, inference from form to function, and inference involving modeling another person's mind. Performance during the last condition evoked the activation of a distributed set of neural networks with prominent activation of the left medial frontal lobe and left temporal lobe. This result suggests that when inferential reasoning depends on constructing a mental model about the beliefs and intentions of others, the participation of the prefrontal cortex is required. When access to such knowledge is affected by CNS dysfunction, such as that found in autism, modeling other minds may prove difficult.



Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles