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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Mindreading in a Pluralist Framework of Social Cognition

  • Author(s): Wolf, Julia
  • Coninx, Sabrina
  • et al.

How do we manage to understand the minds of others and usefully interact with them? In the last decade, the debate on these issues has developed from unitary to pluralist approaches. According to the latter, we make use of multiple socio-cognitive strategies when predicting, interpretating, and reacting to the behavior of others. This means a departure from the view of mindreading as the main strategy underlying social cognition. In this paper, we address the question of the controversial status of mindreading within such a pluralist framework. Contrary to many other accounts, we ascribe mindreading an equal status in a pluralist framework. Mindreading is required for a variety of central situations in life and importantly underlies the way in which we understand other people. Mindreading is also no less reliable than alternative strategies; reliability is not so much a matter of different competing socio-cognitive strategies, but rather of their complementary use.

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