Simulation in Low‐Level Mindreading

Alvin I. Goldman

in Simulating Minds

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195138924
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786480 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

 Simulation in Low‐Level Mindreading

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People have a primitive and largely automatic ability to recognize emotions in faces, an ability best explained by simulation, more specifically, mirror processes. In lesion studies of fear, disgust, and anger, paired selective deficits have been found in experiencing and recognizing these emotions. A patient with insula and basal ganglia damage, for example, scored very low on a questionnaire for experiencing disgust and was also significantly and selectively impaired in recognizing disgust in facial expressions. Such findings are best explained by simulation theory, which predicts that damage to a neural system responsible for undergoing a certain emotion would also yield impairment in recognizing it. Mirror processes involve matching neural activation in both a subject and an observer of a specific mental state, and such processes have been identified (via single cell recordings and neuroimaging studies) for motor intention, touch, pain, and the several emotions listed above.

Keywords: anger; disgust; fear; mirror processes; motor intention; neuroimaging; pain; paired deficits; touch

Chapter.  15389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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