The Evolution of 'Theory of Mind': Theory and Experiments
AbstractThis paper provides an evolutionary foundation for our capacity to attribute preferences to others. This ability is intrinsic to game theory, and is a key component of "Theory of Mind", perhaps the capstone of social cognition. We argue here that this component of theory of mind allows organisms to efficiently modify their behavior in strategic environments with a persistent element of novelty. Such environments are represented here by multistage games of perfect information with randomly chosen outcomes. "Theory of Mind" then yields a sharp, unambiguous advantage over less sophisticated, behavioral approaches to strategic interaction. In related experiments, we show the subscale for social skills in standard tests for autism is a highly significant determinant of the speed of learning in such games.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000735.
Date of creation: 19 Sep 2013
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Other versions of this item:
- Erik O. Kimbrough & Nikolaus Robalino & Arthur J. Robson, 2013. "The Evolution of 'Theory of Mind': Theory and Experiments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1908, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-09-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2013-09-28 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2013-09-28 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2013-09-28 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2013-09-28 (Neuroeconomics)
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