Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 105
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Clark, Ian and Dumas, Guillaume 2016. The Regulation of Task Performance: A Trans-Disciplinary Review. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6,

    Compère, Laurie Mam-Lam-Fook, Célia Amado, Isabelle Nys, Marion Lalanne, Jennifer Grillon, Marie-Laure Bendjemaa, Narjes Krebs, Marie-Odile and Piolino, Pascale 2016. Self-reference recollection effect and its relation to theory of mind: An investigation in healthy controls and schizophrenia. Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 42, p. 51.

    Dogramaci, Sinan 2016. KNOWING OUR DEGREES OF BELIEF. Episteme, Vol. 13, Issue. 03, p. 269.

    Grainger, Catherine Williams, David M. and Lind, Sophie E. 2016. Metacognitive monitoring and control processes in children with autism spectrum disorder: Diminished judgement of confidence accuracy. Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 42, p. 65.

    Hutto, Daniel D. 2016. Narrative self-shaping: a modest proposal. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 21.

    Marraffa, Massimo and Paternoster, Alfredo 2016. Disentangling the self. A naturalistic approach to narrative self-construction. New Ideas in Psychology, Vol. 40, p. 115.

    Schönherr, Julius 2016. What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition?. Review of Philosophy and Psychology,

    Varga, Somogy 2016. The case for mind perception. Synthese,

    Beran, Michael J. Perdue, Bonnie M. Futch, Sara E. Smith, J. David Evans, Theodore A. and Parrish, Audrey E. 2015. Go when you know: Chimpanzees’ confidence movements reflect their responses in a computerized memory task. Cognition, Vol. 142, p. 236.

    Carpendale, Jeremy I. M. and Lewis, Charlie 2015. Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science.

    DEMERS, and Koven, 2015. The Relation of Alexithymic Traits to Affective Theory of Mind. The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 128, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Frank, Chiyoko Kobayashi Baron-Cohen, Simon and Ganzel, Barbara L. 2015. Sex differences in the neural basis of false-belief and pragmatic language comprehension. NeuroImage, Vol. 105, p. 300.

    Gallagher, Shaun 2015. The new hybrids: Continuing debates on social perception. Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 36, p. 452.

    Geurts, Bart and Rubio-Fernández, Paula 2015. Pragmatics and Processing. Ratio, Vol. 28, Issue. 4, p. 446.

    Gruber, Thibaud Zuberbühler, Klaus Clément, Fabrice and van Schaik, Carel 2015. Apes have culture but may not know that they do. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6,

    Guerini, Rossella Marraffa, Massimo and Paloscia, Claudio 2015. Mentalization, attachment, and subjective identity. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6,

    Hutto, Daniel D. 2015. Basic social cognition without mindreading: minding minds without attributing contents. Synthese,

    Knappik, Franz 2015. Self-knowledge about attitudes: rationalism meets interpretation. Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 18, Issue. 2, p. 183.

    Levy, Neil 2015. Addiction, Autonomy, and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, p. jhv033.

    Magid, Rachel W. Sheskin, Mark and Schulz, Laura E. 2015. Imagination and the generation of new ideas. Cognitive Development, Vol. 34, p. 99.


How we know our own minds: The relationship between mindreading and metacognition

  • Peter Carruthers (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

Four different accounts of the relationship between third-person mindreading and first-person metacognition are compared and evaluated. While three of them endorse the existence of introspection for propositional attitudes, the fourth (defended here) claims that our knowledge of our own attitudes results from turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves. Section 1 of this target article introduces the four accounts. Section 2 develops the “mindreading is prior” model in more detail, showing how it predicts introspection for perceptual and quasi-perceptual (e.g., imagistic) mental events while claiming that metacognitive access to our own attitudes always results from swift unconscious self-interpretation. This section also considers the model's relationship to the expression of attitudes in speech. Section 3 argues that the commonsense belief in the existence of introspection should be given no weight. Section 4 argues briefly that data from childhood development are of no help in resolving this debate. Section 5 considers the evolutionary claims to which the different accounts are committed, and argues that the three introspective views make predictions that are not borne out by the data. Section 6 examines the extensive evidence that people often confabulate when self-attributing attitudes. Section 7 considers “two systems” accounts of human thinking and reasoning, arguing that although there are introspectable events within System 2, there are no introspectable attitudes. Section 8 examines alleged evidence of “unsymbolized thinking”. Section 9 considers the claim that schizophrenia exhibits a dissociation between mindreading and metacognition. Finally, section 10 evaluates the claim that autism presents a dissociation in the opposite direction, of metacognition without mindreading.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. Aiello & P. Wheeler (1995) The expensive tissue hypothesis. Current Anthropology 36:199221.

M. L. Anderson & D. Perlis (2005a) Logic, self-awareness and self-improvement: The metacognitive loop and the problem of brittleness. Journal of Logic and Computation 15:2140.

B. J. Baars (1997) In the theatre of consciousness. Oxford University Press.

B. J. Baars (2002) The conscious access hypothesis: Origins and recent evidence. Trends in Cognitive Science 6:4752.

B. J. Baars , T. Ramsoy & S. Laureys (2003) Brain, consciousness, and the observing self. Trends in Neurosciences 26:671–75.

A. Baddeley , D. Chincotta & A. Adlam (2001) Working memory and the control of action: Evidence from task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 130:641–57.

T. Bayne & E. Pacherie (2007) Narrators and comparators: The architecture of agentive self-awareness. Synthese 159:475–91.

I. Begg , S. Duft , P. Lalonde , R. Melnick & J. Sanvito (1989) Memory predictions are based on ease of processing. Journal of Memory and Language 28:610–32.

D. Bem (1967) Self-perception: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena. Psychological Review 74:183200.

S. A. J. Birch & P. Bloom (2004) Understanding children's and adult's limitations in mental state reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Science 8:255–60.

S. A. J. Birch & P. Bloom (2007) The curse of knowledge in reasoning about false beliefs. Psychological Science 18:382–86.

S. Blakemore , D. Wolpert & C. Frith (1998) Central cancellation of self-produced tickle sensation. Nature Neuroscience 1:635–40.

F. Bosco , O. Friedman & A. Leslie (2006) Recognition of pretend and real actions in play by 1- and 2-year-olds: Early success and why they fail. Cognitive Development 21:310.

J. Brasil-Neto , A. Pascual-Leone , J. Valls-Solé , L. Cohen & M. Hallett (1992) Focal transcranial magnetic stimulation and response bias in a forced choice task. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 55:964–66.

P. Briñol & R. Petty (2003) Overt head movements and persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84:1123–39.

& , eds. () . .R. Byrne A. Whiten 1997 Machiavellian intelligence II: Extensions and evaluations Cambridge University Press

J. Call & M. Tomasello (2008) Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? 30 years later. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12:187–92.

P. Carruthers (2002) The cognitive functions of language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25:657719.

P. Carruthers (2006) The architecture of the mind: Massive modularity and the flexibility of thought. Oxford University Press.

P. Carruthers (2008b) Metacognition in animals: A skeptical look. Mind and Language 23(1):5889.

D. Cheney & R. Seyfarth (2007) Baboon metaphysics: The evolution of a social mind. University of Chicago Press.

A. Clark (1998) Magic words: How language augments human computation. In: Language and thought, ed. P. Carruthers & J. Boucher . Cambridge University Press.

S. Dehaene & L. Naccache (2001) Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: Basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition 79:137.

S. Dehaene , L. Naccache , L. Cohen , D. Bihan , J. Mangin , J. Poline & D. Riviere (2001) Cerebral mechanisms of word priming and unconscious repetition masking. Nature Neuroscience 4:752–58.

S. Dehaene , C. Sergent & J. Changeux (2003) A neuronal network model linking subjective reports and objective physiological data during conscious perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 100:8520–25.

R. Dunbar (2000) On the origin of the human mind. In: Evolution and the human mind, ed. P. Carruthers & A. Chamberlain . Cambridge University Press.

G. Edwards (1965) Post-hypnotic amnesia and post-hypnotic effect. British Journal of Psychiatry 111:316–25.

J. Fodor (1992) A theory of the child's theory of mind. Cognition 44:283–96.

C. D. Frith , S. Blakemore & D. Wolpert (2000a) Abnormalities in the awareness and control of action. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 355:1771–88.

C. D. Frith , S. Blakemore & D. Wolpert (2000b) Explaining the symptoms of schizophrenia: Abnormalities in the awareness of action. Brain Research Reviews 31:357–63.

U. Frith & F. Happé (1999) Theory of mind and self-consciousness: What is it like to be autistic? Mind and Language 14:122.

V. Gallese , L. Fadiga , L. Fogassi , G. Rizzolatti (1996) Action recognition in the premotor cortex. Brain 119:593609.

M. Gazzaniga (2000) Cerebral specialization and inter-hemispheric communication: Does the corpus callosum enable the human condition? Brain 123:1293–326.

A. Goldman (2006) Simulating minds: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of mindreading. Oxford University Press.

J. Gomez (1998) Some thoughts about the evolution of LADS, with special reference to TOM and SAM. In: Language and thought, ed. P. Carruthers & J. Boucher . Cambridge University Press.

A. Gopnik & A. Meltzoff (1994) Minds, bodies, and persons: Young children's understanding of the self and others as reflected in imitation and theory of mind research. In: Self-awareness in animals and humans, ed. S. Parker , R. Mitchell & M. Boccia . Cambridge University Press.

R. Gordon (1986) Folk psychology as simulation. Mind and Language 1:158–70.

R. Gordon (1996) “Radical” simulationism. In: Theories of Theories of Mind, ed. P. Carruthers & P. Smith . Cambridge University Press.

C. Greenbaum & M. Zemach (1972) Role-playing and change of attitude toward the police after a campus riot: Effects of situational demand and justification. Human Relations 25:8799.

R. Grush (2004) The emulation theory of representation: Motor control, imagery, and perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27:377442.

R. R. Hampton (2001) Rhesus monkeys know when they remember. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98:5359–62.

R. R. Hampton , A. Zivin & E. Murray (2004) Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) discriminate between knowing and not knowing and collect information as needed before acting. Animal Cognition 7:239–46.

F. Happé (2003) Theory of mind and the self. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1001:134–44.

B. Hare (2007) From nonhuman to human mind: What changed and why? Current Directions in Psychological Science 16:6064.

B. Hare , J. Call , B. Agnetta & M. Tomasello (2000) Chimpanzees know what conspecifics do and do not see. Animal Behavior 59:771–85.

B. Hare , J. Call & M. Tomasello (2001) Do chimpanzees know what conspecifics know? Animal Behavior 61:139–51.

P. L. Harris (2002a) Checking our sources: The origins of trust in testimony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 33:315–33.

P. L. Harris (2002b) What do children learn from testimony? In: The cognitive basis of science, ed. P. Carruthers , S. Stich & M. Siegal . Cambridge University Press.

R. Hurlburt (1990) Sampling normal and schizophrenic inner experience. Plenum Press.

R. Hurlburt (1993) Sampling inner experience in disturbed affect. Plenum Press.

R. T. Hurlburt & S. A. Akhter (2008) Unsymbolized thinking. Consciousness and Cognition 17:1364–74.

M. Jeannerod (2006) Motor cognition. Oxford University Press.

S. Kazak , G. Collis & V. Lewis (1997) Can young people with autism refer to knowledge states? Evidence from their understanding of “know” and “guess.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38:10011009.

A. Koriat (1993) How do we know that we know? The accessibility model of the feeling of knowing. Psychological Review 100:609–39.

A. Koriat (1997) Monitoring one's own knowledge during study: A cue-utilization approach to judgments of learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 126:349–70.

A. Koriat , H. Ma'ayan & R. Nussinson (2006) The intricate relationships between monitoring and control in metacognition: Lessons for the cause-and-effect relation between subjective experience and behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 135(1):3669.

N. Kornell , L. Son & H. Terrace (2007) Transfer of metacognitive skills and hint seeking in monkeys. Psychological Science 18:6471.

S. Kosslyn (1994) Image and brain. MIT Press.

G. Kreiman , I. Fried & C. Koch (2003) Single neuron correlates of subjective vision in the human medial temporal lobe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 99:8378–83.

A. Kruglanski , W. Alon & T. Lewis (1972) Retrospective misattribution and task enjoyment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 8:493501.

A. M. Leslie & P. Polizzi (1998) Inhibitory processing in the false belief task: Two conjectures. Developmental Science 1:247–53.

S. Nichols & S. Stich (2003) Mindreading: An integrated account of pretence, self-awareness, and understanding other minds. Oxford University Press.

R. Nisbett & T. Wilson (1977) Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review 84:231–95.

K. Onishi , R. Baillargeon & A. Leslie (2007) 15-month-old infants detect violations in pretend scenarios. Acta Psychologica 124:106–28.

G. Origgi & D. Sperber (2000) Evolution, communication, and the proper function of language. In: The evolution of the human mind, ed. P. Carruthers & A. Chamberlain . Cambridge University Press.

E. Paulescu , D. Frith & R. Frackowiak (1993) The neural correlates of the verbal component of working memory. Nature 362:342–45.

W. Phillips , S. Baron-Cohen & M. Rutter (1998) Understanding intention in normal development and in autism. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 16:337–48.

G. Rizzolatti , L. Fadiga , V. Gallese & L. Fogassi (1996) Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions. Cognitive Brain Research 3:131–41.

J. Russell & E. Hill (2001) Action-monitoring and intention reporting in children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 42:317–28.

B. L. Schwartz & S. Smith (1997) The retrieval of related information influences tip-of-the-tongue states. Journal of Memory and Language 36:6886.

P. Sheehan & M. Orne (1968) Some comments on the nature of post-hypnotic behavior. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 146:209–20.

S. Shergill , M. Brammer , R. Fukuda , E. Bullmore , E. Amaro , R. Murray & P. McGuire (2002) Modulation of activity in temporal cortex during generation of inner speech. Human Brain Mapping 16:219–27.

W. Shields , J. Smith & D. Washburn (1997) Uncertain responses by humans and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in a psychophysical same–different task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 126:147–64.

S. Sloman (1996) The empirical case for two systems of reasoning. Psychological Bulletin 119:322.

J. D. Smith , J. Schull , J. Strote , K. McGee , R. Egnor & L. Erb (1995) The uncertain response in the bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 124:391408.

J. D. Smith , W. Shields , J. Schull & D. Washburn (1997) The uncertain response in humans and animals. Cognition 62:7597.

J. D. Smith , W. Shields & D. Washburn (2003) The comparative psychology of uncertainty monitoring and metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26:317–39; discussion pp. 339–73.

V. Southgate , A. Senju & G. Csibra (2007) Action anticipation through attribution of false belief by 2-year-olds. Psychological Science 18:587–92.

S. Sternberg (2001) Separate modifiability, mental modules, and the use of pure and composite measures to reveal them. Acta Psychologica 106:147246.

L. Surian , S. Caldi & D. Sperber (2007) Attribution of beliefs by 13-month old infants. Psychological Science 18:580–86.

M. Tomasello , J. Call & B. Hare (2003a) Chimpanzees understand psychological states – the question is which ones and to what extent. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7:153–56.

M. Tomasello , J. Call & B. Hare (2003b) Chimpanzees versus humans: It's not that simple. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7:239–40.

D. Wegner & T. Wheatley (1999) Apparent mental causation: Sources of the experience of the will. American Psychologist 54:480–91.

L. Weiskrantz , J. Elliot & C. Darlington (1971) Preliminary observations of tickling oneself. Nature 230:598–99.

H. Wellman , D. Cross & J. Watson (2001) Meta-analysis of theory-of-mind development: The truth about false belief. Child Development 72:655–84.

G. Wells & R. Petty (1980) The effects of overt head movements on persuasion: Compatibility and incompatibility of responses. Basic and Applied Social Psychology 1:219–30.

D. Wolpert & Z. Ghahramani (2000) Computational principles of movement neuroscience. Nature Neuroscience 3:1212–17.

D. Wolpert & M. Kawato (1998) Multiple paired forward and inverse models for motor control. Neural Networks 11:1317–29.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *