Two systems of mind reading? A critical analysis of the two-systems theory

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Published 01-12-2022
Anyerson Stiths Gómez Tabares

Abstract

Apperly and Butterfill's (2009) hold that there are two cognitive mind-reading systems. System 1(S1) is fast, automatic and inflexible, whereas system 2 (S2) is reflective, flexible and slow. This paper presents and discusses two central assumptions of this theory: the independence of S1 and S2 and the encapsulation of S1. It is argued that findings on longitudinal trajectories in infancy on the false belief test and visual perspective taking undermine the two-system theory in three respects: (1) S1 is not encapsulated, (2) S1 is not entirely automatic processing, and (3) S2 cognitive processes can be fast and efficient. The paper concludes that mindreading operates through different socio-cognitive processes that are gradually and continuously enriched during development, which eliminates the need for a two-system characterization.

How to Cite

Gómez Tabares, A. S. (2022). Two systems of mind reading? A critical analysis of the two-systems theory. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 37(3), 331–355. https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.23235
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Keywords

false believe, theory of mind, perspective taking, dual processing, children

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