, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 431-448
Date: 05 Sep 2012

Introduction to debates on embodied social cognition

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Social cognition, very basically, is our ability to understand and interact with others. In all sorts of everyday situations, we observe, understand, and interact in complex social situations. Following politics, gossiping, playing sports, engaging in pretend play, and driving on a busy freeway are just a few instances of social cognition. The study of social cognition seeks to explain the cognitive architecture of our minds and psychological processes that make it possible for us to engage in social cognition. For much of the past two decades, there has been a two-party debate about social cognition between the Theory Theory (TT) and the Simulation Theory (ST).

Theory theorists argue that we explain and predict behavior by employing folk psychological theories about how mental states inform behavior. With our folk psychological theories, we infer from a target’s behavior what his or her mental states probably are. And from these inferences, plus the psychological principles in the theo ...