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Left temporoparietal junction is necessary for representing someone else's belief

Nature Neurosciencevolume 7pages499500 (2004) | Download Citation

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Abstract

A standard view in the neuroscience literature is that the frontal lobes sustain our ability to process others' mental states such as beliefs, intentions and desires (this ability is often referred to as having 'theory of mind'). Here we report evidence from brain-damaged patients showing that, in addition to involvement of the frontal lobes, the left temporoparietal junction is necessary for reasoning about the beliefs of others.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Stroke Association and the Medical Research Council (UK). We thank all the patients for their participation as well as the reviewers for their comments.

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Author notes

  1. Dana Samson and Ian A Apperly: These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology – Hills Building, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

    • Dana Samson
    • , Ian A Apperly
    • , Claudia Chiavarino
    •  & Glyn W Humphreys

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dana Samson.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Fig. 1

    Lesion reconstructions from MRI scans for the three patients. Lesions have been drawn onto standard slices1. Only slices 3 to 8 are reported. 1. Gado, M., Hanaway, J. & Frank, R. J. Comput. Assist. Tomogr. 3, 1-19 (1979). (JPG 135 kb)

  2. Supplementary Methods (PDF 23 kb)

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1223

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