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Exploring the Neural Correlates of Mind-mindedness

Cotter, Zacharria (2018) Exploring the Neural Correlates of Mind-mindedness. PhD thesis, University of York.

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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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: mind-mindedness, social cognition, mind wandering, episodic memory, posterior cingulate cortex, frontoparietal cortex, theory of mind, mentalisation, default mode network, resting-state
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Depositing User: Mr. Zacharria Cotter
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2019 13:32
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23693

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