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Title: Exploring the neural correlates of mind-mindedness
Author: Cotter, Zacharria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 4324
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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Social cognition relies on our ability to understand the mental states of others, which in turn depends on the ability to spontaneously access appropriate contextual information about the person with whom we are interacting. One well-documented index of effective social interaction is the capacity for mind-mindedness - whether a person represents familiar people, such as their best friend, as mental agents with thoughts and feelings. This thesis consists of three studies designed to explore the behavioural and neural correlates of mind- mindedness. Studies 1 and 2 investigated the hypothesis that skills important for effective social interaction depend on the capacity for social memory, exploring this question in terms of how people are categorized and how effectively social information is retrieved. Study 1 revealed that individuals whose descriptions of their friends focused on their internal states had increased recognition for socially relevant cues. Study 2 links increased episodic memory capacity with greater levels of mind-mindedness. These results support the hypothesis that our capacity for social memory is an important component of mind-mindedness. Study 3 utilised functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the intrinsic organization that underpins mind-mindedness. Individual differences in mind-mindedness were linked to a stronger decoupling between the fronto-parietal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, a pattern that meta-analytic evidence suggests is linked to processes such as autobiographical and episodic memory. This analysis suggests that mind-minded representations of other people are reflected in the intrinsic organization of the posterior cingulate cortex, a process that may depend upon memory processes.
Supervisor: Meins, Elizabeth ; Smallwood, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available