"I think I know what you mean": The role of the theory of mind in collaborative communication

Meredyth Krych-Appelbaum, Julie Banzon Law, Dayna Jones, Allyson Barnacz, Amanda Johnson, Julian Keenan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to predict and understand the mental state of another. While ToM is theorized to play a role in language, we examined whether such a mentalizing ability plays an important role in establishing shared understanding in conversation. Pairs of participants engaged in a Lego model building task in which a director instructed a builder on how to create duplicate models from a prototype that only the director could see. We manipulated whether the director could see (visible condition) or could not see (hidden condition) the builder's workspace. As predicted, the Mind in the Eyes test (a measure of ToM) predicted accuracy when the workspace was hidden. A high mentalizing ability was an advantage when instructing, resulting in fewer errors, but may be a disadvantage when following instructions. This research indicates that ToM plays a key role in communicating information effectively in conversation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalInteraction Studies
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2007

Fingerprint

communication (human)
director
communication
Communication
prototypes
ability
conversation
eyes
testing
instruction
Theory of Mind
language
Mentalizing
Builders

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Grounding
  • Language
  • Mind in the eyes
  • Theory of mind

Cite this

Krych-Appelbaum, Meredyth ; Law, Julie Banzon ; Jones, Dayna ; Barnacz, Allyson ; Johnson, Amanda ; Keenan, Julian. / "I think I know what you mean" : The role of the theory of mind in collaborative communication. In: Interaction Studies. 2007 ; Vol. 8, No. 2. pp. 267-280.
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"I think I know what you mean" : The role of the theory of mind in collaborative communication. / Krych-Appelbaum, Meredyth; Law, Julie Banzon; Jones, Dayna; Barnacz, Allyson; Johnson, Amanda; Keenan, Julian.

In: Interaction Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 01.12.2007, p. 267-280.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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