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Theory of mind and the “somatic marker mechanism” (SMM)

  • Bruce G. Charlton (a1)
Abstract

The “somatic marker mechanism” (SMM; Damasio 1994) is proposed as the cognitive and neural basis of the theory of mind mechanism. The SMM evolved for evaluating the intentions, dispositions, and relationships of conspecifics; hence, it is adaptive in the social domain. It is predicted that chimpanzees will indeed have theory of mind (ToM) ability, but that this will be socially domain-specific. Domain-general ToM will be found only in primates with abstract, symbolic language (adult humans). Putative ToM tests require revision in the light of these distinctions.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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