Less Egocentric Biases in Theory of Mind When Observing Agents in Unbalanced Decision Problems
- Author(s): Poeppel, Jan;
- Kopp, Stefan;
- Marsella, Stacy
- et al.
Theory of Mind (ToM) or mentalizing is the ability to infer mental states of oneself and other agents. Theory of mind plays a key role in social interactions as it allows one to predict other agents' likely future actions by inferring what they may intend or know. However, there is a wide range of ToM skills of increasing complexity. While most people are generally capable of performing complex ToM reasoning such as recursive belief inference when explicitly prompted, there is much evidence that humans do not always use ToM to their full capabilities. Instead, people often fall back to heuristics and biases, such as an egocentric bias that projects one's beliefs and perspective onto the observed agent. We explore which (internal or external) factors may influence the mentalizing processes that humans employ unsolicitedly, i.e., employ without being primed or explicitly triggered. In this paper we present an online study investigating unbalanced decision problems where one choice is significantly better than the other. Our results demonstrate that participant's are significantly less likely to exhibit an egocentric bias in such situations.