Adult theory of mind, cooperation, Machiavellianism: The effect of mindreading on social relations

Tunde Paal, Tamas Bereczkei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theory of mind - the ability to attribute independent mental states and processes to others - plays an important role in our social lives. For one, it facilitates social cooperation, for two, it enables us to manipulate others in order to reach our own goals. In our study, we intend to analyze some basic aspects of the complex relationship between adult theory of mind and social behavior that had not been researched in depth so far. Our results show (1) a strong negative correlation between Machiavellianism and social cooperative skills; (2) a connection between the extent of cooperative tendency and the level of mindreading; and (3) a lack of significant correlation between theory of mind and Machiavellianism. For the interpretation of the results - especially for our third finding - we used the concepts of "hot" and "cold" empathy, the lack of representation of moral emotions, as well as other cognitive explanatory models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-551
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007

Keywords

  • "Hot" and "cold" empathy
  • Adult theory of mind
  • Cooperation
  • Machiavellianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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