THEORY OF MIND, COOPERATION, MACHIAVELLIANISM: THE EFFECT OF MINDREADING ABILITY ON SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS
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The theory of mind - a capacity of attributing mental states to other individuals - plays a crucial role in social life. On the one hand, it facilitates one's cooperation with group members, and, on the other hand, it makes it possible to manipulate others for achieving one's own purposes. In the recent study an attempt has been made to analyse certain important aspects of the complex relationship between theory of mind and social behaviour. For examining mindreading capacity, subjects were asked to follow short stories, and the level of Machiavellianism and cooperative ability was measured by using various tests. The authors have shown that Machiavellianism is negatively associated with a readiness for cooperation: those persons who are more inclined to manipulate others show a lower degree of cooperation. Second, strong correlation was found between mindreading capacity and cooperative ability. This finding could be interpreted that the better mindreading capacity one has, the higher level of cooperation with others one shows. Finally, no significant association was found between theory of mind and Machiavellianism. This result did not support their assumption that those persons who more easily take the others' perspective and understand their intentions and knowledge, efficiently and successfully manipulate the others. For the discussion of gthe authots' results - especially the third one - the hypothesis of 'cold' and 'hot' empathy, the representation of moral emotions, and other cognitive explanatory models were used.
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