Poster C105, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Theory of Mind activation in social dilemmas
Justin M. Campbell1, Nick Wan1,2, Bradley Robinson1, Kerry Jordan1; 1Utah State University, 2Cincinnati Reds
Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to anticipate and predict the actions of others. The capacity for ToM-reasoning is essential across many aspects of social cognition; it plays a crucial role in empathy (Koster-Hale, Saxe, Dungan, & Young, 2013), as well as decision-making and inhibition (Ahmed & Miller, 2011). The Chicken Game (Rapoport & Chammah, 1966) is a social dilemma used to model choices to cooperate or defect against another individual. Thus, to perform well in the game, a correct appraisal of the other player’s choice is paramount. Mentalization abilities are studied in the form of choices made from the first-person (“self”) perspective, and ToM-based predictions of the other player’s choice within the Chicken Game. Here, electroencephalography (EEG) is used as a measure of activity and reaction time in cortical areas relevant to ToM processing (e.g., prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction). Both perspectives are analyzed using event-related potentials, particularly contingent negative variation (CNV); CNV activity has been associated with the expectation or anticipation of a reward (Judah, Grant, Mills, & Lechner, 2013). Past research suggests that defection choices may show greater negative variation due to their increased valence. Our results support this hypothesis, and highlight two novel findings: ToM-based predictions of other’s choices were indistinct regardless of anticipated decision (i.e., cooperation vs. defection), and cooperation choices elicit the same CNV activity regardless of perspective (i.e., self vs. other). These findings challenge the assumption that identical mechanisms underlie ToM attribution of oneself and of others.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making