Minds, persons, and space: An fMRI investigation into the relational complexity of higher-order intentionality

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):438-450 (2008)
Mental state reasoning or theory-of-mind has been the subject of a rich body of imaging research. Although such investigations routinely tap a common set of regions, the precise function of each area remains a contentious matter. With the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we sought to determine which areas are involved when processing mental state or intentional metarepresentations by focusing on the relational aspect of such representations. Using non-intentional relational representations such as spatial relations between persons and between objects as a contrast, the results ascertained the involvement of the precuneus, the temporal poles, and the medial prefrontal cortex in the processing of intentional representations. In contrast, the anterior superior temporal sulcus and the left temporo-parietal junction were implicated when processing representations that refer to the presence of persons in relational contexts in general. The right temporo-parietal junction, however, was specifically activated for persons entering spatial relations. The level of representational complexity, a previously unexplored factor, was also found to modulate the neural response in some brain regions, such as the medial prefrontal cortex and the right temporo-parietal junction. These findings highlight the need to take into account the critical roles played by an extensive network of neural regions during mental state reasoning.
Keywords Intentionality  Mental state reasoning  Mentalizing  Theory-of-mind  Personhood  Relational complexity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2008.03.011
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Joop Leo (2013). Relational Complexes. Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (2):357-390.
Herman Philipse (1986). The Concept of Intentionality. Philosophy Research Archives 12:293-328.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

42 ( #115,265 of 1,924,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #82,617 of 1,924,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.