Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.662188
Title: Examining the theory theory versus simulation theory debate via counterfactual scenarios pertaining to mental states
Author: Wilkinson , Meredith Ria
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the theory theory versus simulation theory debate, which concerns how we reason about mental states. Theory theory (e.g ., Carruthers, 1996a) argues that mental state reasoning is achieved using tacit and non-tacit theories. Simulation theory argues that mental state reasoning is achieved either by taking our own beliefs and desires offline, quarantining them and using the beliefs and desires of the person we are reasoning about (e.g., Goldman, 2006), or by imagining how we would respond in a situation and assuming others are sufficiently like us such that they would respond in the same manner (e.g., Heal, 1996). The thesis begins by demonstrating how evidence from autism spectrum disorder fails to arbitrate decisively between theory theory and simulation theory. Next, experimental work is reported using counterfactual scenarios pertaining to mental states (plus a think aloud requirement) in an attempt to arbitrate between theoretical positions. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed more simulation and less theorising when we reason about ourselves compared to reasoning about another person Experiment 2 also demonstrated an effect of event controllability, with more simulation and less theorising in controllable scenarios relative to uncontrollable scenarios Experiment 3 indicated the presence of more simulation but less theorising for familiar compared to unfamiliar scenarios. Experiment 4 simultaneously manipulated the emotionality and familiarity of scenarios and showed that increases in both emotionality and familiarity led to more simulation, whereas unemotional and unfamiliar scenarios evoked more theorising. Overall, the findings suggest the need for a hybrid model in which recourse to theory-based or simulation-based reasoning is dependent on the reasoner's perspective and the nature of scenario content.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.662188  DOI: Not available
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