Mind and Understanding

False beliefs are among the familiar and awkward facts of life. You fail to show up on a Friday night because you thought the party was on Saturday. A friend overdraws her checking account because she thought there was more money in it. Sometimes the intrigue caused by false beliefs becomes limitlessly complex, as when a secretly married girl takes a sleeping potion to avoid being forced to marry another man, only to wake to find her true husband has killed himself because he thought she was dead.

But false beliefs are not only a source of mundane embarrassments and Shakespearean plots. Our ability to recognize when other people have false beliefs, and to consider these beliefs in explaining their behavior, provides a window on basic features of the human mind.

–Rebecca Saxe

Read the rest of Reading Your Mind.

[via Arts & Letters Daily]

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