Cognition 203:104412 (2020)

Adam Michael Bricker
University of Cologne
Despite the ubiquity of knowledge attribution in human social cognition, its associated neural and cognitive mechanisms are poorly documented. A wealth of converging evidence in cognitive neuroscience has identified independent perspective-taking and inhibitory processes for belief attribution, but the extent to which these processes are shared by knowledge attribution isn't presently understood. Here, we present the findings of an EEG study designed to directly address this shortcoming. These findings suggest that belief attribution is not a component process in knowledge attribution, contra a standard attitude taken by philosophers. Instead, observed differences in P3b amplitude indicate that knowledge attribution doesn't recruit the strong self-perspective inhibition characteristic of belief attribution. However, both belief and knowledge attribution were observed to display a late slow wave widely associated with mental state attribution, indicating that knowledge attribution also shares in more general processing of others' mental states. These results provide a new perspective both on how we think about knowledge attribution, as well as Theory of Mind processes generally.
Keywords Theory of Mind  Mentalizing  Perspective taking  Self-perspective inhibition  Knowledge-first  Epistemology
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DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104412
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowledge as a Mental State.Jennifer Nagel - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:275-310.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Research 29:191-220.
An Analysis of Factual Knowledge.Peter Unger - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (6):157-170.

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