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      Imaging the intentional stance in a competitive game.

      Neuroimage

      Video Games, Adult, Brain, physiology, radionuclide imaging, Brain Mapping, methods, Cognition, Games, Experimental, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Mental Processes, Posture, Reaction Time, Tomography, Emission-Computed

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          Abstract

          The "intentional stance" is the disposition to treat an entity as a rational agent, possessing particular beliefs, desires, and intentions, in order to interpret and predict it's behavior. The intentional stance is a component of a broader social cognitive function, mentalizing. Here we report a study that investigates the neural substrates of "on-line" mentalizing, using PET, by asking volunteers to second-guess an opponent. In order to identify brain activity specifically associated with adoption of an intentional stance, we used a paradigm that allowed tight control of other cognitive demands. Volunteers played a computerised version of the children's game "stone, paper, scissors." In the mentalizing condition volunteers believed they were playing against the experimenter. In the comparison condition, volunteers believed they were playing against a computer. In fact, during the actual scanning, the "opponent" produced a random sequence in both conditions. The only difference was the attitude, or stance, adopted by the volunteer. Only one region was more active when volunteers adopted the intentional stance. This was in anterior paracingulate cortex (bilaterally). This region has been activated in a number of previous studies involving mentalizing. However, this is the first study suggesting a specific link between activity in this brain region and the adoption of an intentional stance.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Contributions of anterior cingulate cortex to behaviour

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            Central cancellation of self-produced tickle sensation.

            A self-produced tactile stimulus is perceived as less ticklish than the same stimulus generated externally. We used fMRI to examine neural responses when subjects experienced a tactile stimulus that was either self-produced or externally produced. More activity was found in somatosensory cortex when the stimulus was externally produced. In the cerebellum, less activity was associated with a movement that generated a tactile stimulus than with a movement that did not. This difference suggests that the cerebellum is involved in predicting the specific sensory consequences of movements, providing the signal that is used to cancel the sensory response to self-generated stimulation.
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              Pretense and representation: The origins of "theory of mind."

               Alan Leslie (1987)
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                Journal
                12169265

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