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Overlapping and non-overlapping brain regions for theory of mind and self reflection in individual subjects

By Rebecca Saxe, Joseph M. Moran, Jonathan Scholz and John Gabrieli

Abstract

When subjects are required to reason about someone's false belief, a consistent pattern of brain regions are recruited including the medial prefrontal cortex, medial precuneus and bilateral temporo-parietal junction. Previous group analyses suggest that the two medial regions, but not the lateral regions, are also recruited when subjects engage in self-reflection. The current study directly compared the results of the ‘false belief’ and ‘self’ tasks in individual subjects. Consistent with previous reports, the medial prefrontal and medial precuneus regions recruited by the two tasks significantly overlap in individual subjects, although there was also evidence for non-overlapping voxels in medial regions. The temporo-parietal regions are only recruited for the ‘theory of mind’ task. Six possible models of the relationship between theory of mind, self-reflection and autobiographical memory, all consistent with both neurobiological and developmental evidence to date, are discussed

Topics: Special Issue Articles
Publisher: Oxford University Press
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2555418
Provided by: PubMed Central
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