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Thinking About Other People's Thoughts

Summary #

The right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) appears to be dedicated to thinking about other people's thoughts. You can alter people's judgments of others by interfering with the rTPJ's activity.

(Video: YouTube via TED)

Correction #

In the video, Rebecca Saxe mistakenly attributed the following quote to Alan Greenspan when it was actually said by Robert McCloskey:

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

Commentary #

Moral thinking is critical in many legal systems. In fact, the insanity defense depends on demonstrating that the defendant is incapable of moral thinking (temporarily or permanently). I imagine this research has far-reaching consequences.

Meta #

Suppose you know that someone has a deficient rTPJ; how does that alter your perception of their judgments?