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This project examines the ways in which knowledge, or ignorance, impact healthy adults’ theory of mind (i.e. their considerations of others’ mental states). In a pilot study, and four experiments, an effect is found which supports the hypothesis that knowledge states influence the execution of theory of mind. The present findings suggest that attention is directed differently when participants reason from positions of knowledge, or positions of ignorance, in regard to a task-relevant fact. This project provides a starting point for further research, investigating the rich contextual contributions to the fluent functioning of the ‘theory of mind system.’
Shin, Steven M. and Phillips, Jonathan S., "What you don’t know matters: An ignorance-focused investigation of theory of mind" (2023). Cognitive Science Senior Theses. 1.