Institut Jean Nicod

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Context and Content Lectures 2017


Les enregistrements sont désormais disponibles

Audio recording are now avalaible

06 octobre : audio

09 octobre : audio

10 octobre : audio

11 octobre : audio

de 14h30 à 16h30.
Ecole normale supérieure
29, rue d'Ulm
75005 Paris

Salle du Pavillon Jardin.


Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience
Hellbrunnerstraße 34
5020 Salzburg

Coreferential Files and Theory of Mind




I will discuss the importance of coreferential files—multiple representations of a single object—in our thinking and in children’s cognitive development. Our mental files model ascertains that up to about 4 years children cannot represent identity by linking coreferential files. This inability shows up in a variety of domains: alternative naming (that the rabbit is also an animal), identity statements (“Sue’s mother is the teacher”), recognition of a person as the same as encountered before, and understanding belief (that Max mistakenly thinks his chocolate is still in its original place) a central concept of our theory of mind. Our mental files model can also illuminate the relationship between theory of mind development and mutual exclusivity phenomena and children’s prolonged difficulty with the intensionality of belief. Brain imaging studies also track common brain regions activated by these different tasks in adults.

Our data and theoretical analyses speak to general issues of when different files are deployed for an object, how objects are tracked over time in perception and conversation, how identity and perspective differences are mentally represented.