Doctoral Defense of Dóra Kampis
The Department of Cognitive Science cordially invites you to the
public defense of the PhD thesis
of Dora Kampis:
MINDREADERS IN THE CRIB:
COGNITIVE MECHANISMS OF REPRESENTING OTHERS' MENTAL STATES IN HUMAN INFANTS
SUPERVISOR: ÁGNES M. KOVÁCS
SECONDARY SUPERVISOR: GERGELY CSIBRA
The defense will take place
at the Department of Cognitive Science,
V. Budapest, Október 6 street 7, 1st floor, room 101.
on Monday, January 9, 2017,
at 9:00 a.m.
A crucial part of human cognition is to understand that people are guided not just by external factors, but also by their mental states. This capacity, termed “Theory of Mind”, has been of great interest in the past four decades to researchers from a variety of fields. A pressing question is how the ability to form metarepresentations of others’ mental states develops, and whether it is present in human infants. The present work investigated the cognitive mechanisms that may enable young infants to represent other people’s mental representations. One set of experiments explored the neuro-cognitive bases of infants’ ability to encode the world from another person’s perspective; and found common neural activation when infants sustained a representation from their own perspective, and when they could attribute such representations to someone else. A second set of studies investigated infants’ abilities to ascribe to others beliefs based on correct or mistaken individuation of objects using spatiotemporal or feature/kind information; and found that infants can represent others’ beliefs involving multiple objects, and object identity. Finally, a third line of experiments probed the flexibility of infants’ mental state attributions by testing how infants can integrate new information into their already existing representations. Together, these studies point to the possibility of an early developing, flexible, and powerful apparatus suitable to handle multiple concurrent representations; which may be the core of a mature mindreading ability in adulthood.