Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 16, No 2 (2020)

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Thinking About What the Others Are Thinking About: An Integrative Approach to the Mind Perception and Social Cognition Theory

Hicham Khabbache, Khalid Ouazizi, Nicola Luigi Braggazi, Zouhair Belamfedel Alaoui, Radouane Mrabet


At the very moment a person wonders about: "What is the other thinking about?", with this remark, he/she becomes, implicitly, implicated in the field of social cognition. It is axiomatic for people to be concerned and curious about the mental states of others for various reasons: (i) defending and controlling the self-image with regard to others' judgments, or (ii) controlling and manipulating the others, driven by selfish interests and Machiavellian intelligence. In a nutshell, this article deals with the topic of "mind-reading" from an integrative and pluralistic perspective in that we opted for a tripartite levels of analysis: (1) the first level is concerned with behavior-reading which is identified, according to the embedded cognition, as an external manifestation of mind-reading which depends on the visible function of the human body in its environment, (2) the second one is concerned with mind-reading as a cognitive faculty which requires two appropriated cognitive systems: (i) simulation, and (ii) theorization. These two systems work: synergistically, interdependently and alternatively, by mentoring processes that are driven by a psychological mechanism which evaluates ‘distance' between the self and the other, i.e., if the other is perceived as a close ally activates the simulation mechanism, but if he/she is perceived as a foreigner activates the theorizing mechanism. (3) The third level adopts a neuro-constructivist assumption which stresses that brain-reading is underlined by cerebral plasticity. We believe that our brain-reading faculty is neither modular nor domain-specific neural circuit; rather it is a multipartite neuronal network which encompasses multi-interfaces.

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