Antecedents, Manifestations, and Consequences of Belief in Mind–Body Dualism

  • Matthias ForstmannEmail author
  • Pascal Burgmer


In this chapter, we will discuss the cognitive and perceptual underpinnings, manifestations, and downstream consequences of common-sense belief in mind–body dualism. Reviewing literature from developmental, social, and cognitive psychology, as well as from experimental philosophy, we will propose a model for dualistic belief (self- and other-oriented) that incorporates both explicit and intuitive beliefs, their relation to one another, and the processes contributing to their respective formation, particularly mental-state inference and bodily self-awareness. We will further discuss different manifestations of dualistic beliefs with a focus on religious belief in souls, an afterlife, or animistic spirits. Finally, the last section of this chapter will discuss practical consequences of dualistic beliefs, focusing on their relation to health behavior, dissociative disorders, lay belief in free will, and processes related to the perceived inaccessibility of minds.


Mind–body dualism Intuitive beliefs Free will Cartesian theater Theory of mind 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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