Higher order Theory of Mind (test yourself)

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How did you do on the Theory of Mind questions?
They were all confusing. 14%  14%  [ 14 ]
I could do the lower order questions, but I couldn't do the 4th order ones. 14%  14%  [ 14 ]
They were all doable. 72%  72%  [ 72 ]
Total votes : 100

ocdgirl123
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28 Jan 2011, 12:52 am

They were all doable when I actually figured out what they were asking.


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28 Jan 2011, 5:54 am

I didn't have any trouble with understanding the problems. I just had a hard time keeping all of the information in my head. To me, this seems more like a test of working memory than of "theory of mind."

I have never had a problem with "theory of mind" in the classic sense. As far as I can remember, I understood perfectly well that what I knew and what other people knew was different. I had no problem with the idea that people might keep secrets or that people could lie.

My problem was in understanding that people could think differently from me. This did not really hit me until about 10th grade or so. As an example, I had a lot of habits that people found very annoying. These habits didn't bother me, so I did not understand why these habits would bother other people, even when it was pointed out to me. It made no sense to me that they should be bothered by my habits, so I resisted the idea.

I guess what I am saying is that I had a normal theory of mind when it came to knowledge. I completely lacked a theory of mind when it cam to emotions.



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28 Jan 2011, 12:06 pm

Interesting! I see that my poll was badly designed - most of you seem to be able to do these, but I'm getting a sense from the responses that some are treating it as a logic puzzle. Did anyone here find the answers intuitive, after they've figured out what the question was asking?



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28 Jan 2011, 1:11 pm

grad_girl wrote:
Interesting! I see that my poll was badly designed - most of you seem to be able to do these, but I'm getting a sense from the responses that some are treating it as a logic puzzle. Did anyone here find the answers intuitive, after they've figured out what the question was asking?


Is it possible to be intuitive when you are served a bunch of information? I think it has to be tested in "real environments" and not theoretical. I believe that I do collect all information in "real life" too, but what I think is the most interesting proposition here, is that we might have problems with "theory of emotions"...

What I think is worth considering is; that if you understand that somebody else has some information (which I dont find difficult), then try to understand how the person feels about the information. When I look around, I often see, that people deal with things differently than myself, and Im sometimes surprised.

People sometimes react stronger to things than I would do, but also the opposite, (which is happening the most at this point in my life). It seams like most people are more "thick skinned" than myself. Maybe it is normal? -Are some of you people more "thick skinned" in some situations than normal people? Because I think that I am never "thick skinned", but there are things that I have learned to deal with.



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28 Jan 2011, 4:16 pm

grad_girl wrote:
Interesting! I see that my poll was badly designed - most of you seem to be able to do these, but I'm getting a sense from the responses that some are treating it as a logic puzzle. Did anyone here find the answers intuitive, after they've figured out what the question was asking?


I don't know about intuitive, but the answer was clear to me without any need to reason it out. That doesn't say anything, though. I'm pretty good at getting to a logical conclusion without consciously going through the intermediate steps.



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28 Jan 2011, 5:01 pm

anbuend wrote:
And before I ever knew of the above paper, I noticed that the supposed second-order, third-order, and fourth-order so-called "theory of mind" tests, are simply more and more complex language and cognitive constructions. They require a whole lot of cognitive multitasking (something most if not all autistic people are bad at) as well as a high level of language understanding (something that many autistic people are bad at).


I think I´m having this problem too. Once I can get through all the "he thinks she thinks" stuff, the answers are actually easy.

And like some of the other posters, I also have trouble retaining the information. I don´t know why....(but I notice I have this problem in life too). Maybe I just don´t care enough about who loves chocolate and who wants flowers for their birthday, so I lose my concentration. It does seem to help though if I force myself to visualize the stuff I´m reading about....actually, I guess it would be accurate to say that I have to do that in order to answer the questions.


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28 Jan 2011, 6:02 pm

Morgana wrote:
anbuend wrote:
And before I ever knew of the above paper, I noticed that the supposed second-order, third-order, and fourth-order so-called "theory of mind" tests, are simply more and more complex language and cognitive constructions. They require a whole lot of cognitive multitasking (something most if not all autistic people are bad at) as well as a high level of language understanding (something that many autistic people are bad at).

I think I´m having this problem too. Once I can get through all the "he thinks she thinks" stuff, the answers are actually easy.


Me too.


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03 Feb 2011, 2:02 am

It's interesting... what do I mean about the reasoning being intuitive, exactly? I guess it probably means that I use a different part of the brain to process the information than I might with a logic puzzle, in the same way that most people retain memories of faces in a different way than they retain memories of landscapes or other inanimate objects. Hard to explain, though!

Don't think anyone finds the "He thinks she thinks" construction intuitive, I have to admit.



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03 Feb 2011, 3:06 am

Yensid wrote:
I didn't have any trouble with understanding the problems. I just had a hard time keeping all of the information in my head. To me, this seems more like a test of working memory than of "theory of mind."



+1

Exactly my problem.
My working memory sucks.


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03 Feb 2011, 5:29 am

The 4th level options were sooo frustrating. Those sentences were ridiculous!
I'm pretty sure I chose the answers correctly, but it took long enough to figure out. I could hardly tell what some of the statements were trying to say... It felt like reading Moby Dick. :\ I never got past the first line on Moby Dick, I gave up. The sentence was so long that by the time I got to the end of it, I had forgotten how the damned thing started. :lol:

THESE TWO were the WORST!!

"a) Ben thinks that Anna believes that he knows that Mum wants perfume for
her birthday.

b) Ben thinks that Anna knows that he knows that mum wants flowers for her
birthday. "

Even after I think I chose the right one, I forgot what the sentence actually said. There are too many actions... Ben thinks that Anna believes that he knows that Mum wants...

These can't be grammatically acceptable... can they?



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03 Feb 2011, 6:10 am

I found it difficult just to understand the wording of the questions. I don't really think thats meant to be the point of this.



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03 Feb 2011, 7:26 am

Chama wrote:
The 4th level options were sooo frustrating. Those sentences were ridiculous!
I'm pretty sure I chose the answers correctly, but it took long enough to figure out. I could hardly tell what some of the statements were trying to say... It felt like reading Moby Dick. :\ I never got past the first line on Moby Dick, I gave up. The sentence was so long that by the time I got to the end of it, I had forgotten how the damned thing started. :lol:

THESE TWO were the WORST!!

"a) Ben thinks that Anna believes that he knows that Mum wants perfume for
her birthday.

b) Ben thinks that Anna knows that he knows that mum wants flowers for her
birthday. "

Even after I think I chose the right one, I forgot what the sentence actually said. There are too many actions... Ben thinks that Anna believes that he knows that Mum wants...

These can't be grammatically acceptable... can they?


That sounds exactly like the way my problems were with fathoming this kind of stuff a few decades ago. I seem to have largely got over it, though I don't understand how. I think it might have been to do with "name-blindness" - my mind tries to skip names, so when I was reading the stories, I was making a special effort to get my head to register who was doing what, and then the questions were easier to relate to my understanding of the text.

I get that problem with trying to read some books - still stuck on the first paragraph after hours. These days I tend to blame the book - why do they have to write these dry, inaccessible texts anyway? The worst offender I've noticed so far is "Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State" (Engels). What's really annoying is that the guy obviously has something important to say, but it's like he's writing for his own brotherhood of specialist egg-heads. Marx is just as difficult - you can get books that attempt to explain Das Capital more clearly (e.g. Political Economy by John Eaton), but they're hardly any better. The irony is, these books call for socialism and equality, but they are written in elitist language.

The only way I've been able to make any headway at all with such material is to slow right down, and if necessary spend a whole session decyphering just one sentence. I also have a rule that if I can't understand a sentence, I should at least try to work out what exactly it is about it that makes it unclear to me. Big trouble with books is that the author isn't usually there to interrogate. And don't get me started on these idiotic authors who automatically expect the reader to trust them - what I mean is, they present loads of new concepts to learn, and there's no guarantee that having painstakingly fathomed them all, they have anything worthwhile to tell me.

Hmmm.....I see Moby Dick is full of problems for the modern reader:
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
My first reaction was - WTF?? :? I guess in those days people were fascinated by travel and these quaint descriptions of faraway places and their inhabitants. Personally I'm barely interested. I notice that the author also writes of Cato as if we've all got a degree in classical history. Times have changed! It's going to be a confusing read for anybody not steeped in the terminology and concepts of his time and social class. Maybe this modern plot synopsis would help?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby-Dick#Plot



Chama
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03 Feb 2011, 8:07 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
That sounds exactly like the way my problems were with fathoming this kind of stuff a few decades ago. I seem to have largely got over it, though I don't understand how. I think it might have been to do with "name-blindness" - my mind tries to skip names, so when I was reading the stories, I was making a special effort to get my head to register who was doing what, and then the questions were easier to relate to my understanding of the text.

I get that problem with trying to read some books - still stuck on the first paragraph after hours. These days I tend to blame the book - why do they have to write these dry, inaccessible texts anyway? The worst offender I've noticed so far is "Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State" (Engels). What's really annoying is that the guy obviously has something important to say, but it's like he's writing for his own brotherhood of specialist egg-heads. Marx is just as difficult - you can get books that attempt to explain Das Capital more clearly (e.g. Political Economy by John Eaton), but they're hardly any better. The irony is, these books call for socialism and equality, but they are written in elitist language.

The only way I've been able to make any headway at all with such material is to slow right down, and if necessary spend a whole session decyphering just one sentence. I also have a rule that if I can't understand a sentence, I should at least try to work out what exactly it is about it that makes it unclear to me. Big trouble with books is that the author isn't usually there to interrogate. And don't get me started on these idiotic authors who automatically expect the reader to trust them - what I mean is, they present loads of new concepts to learn, and there's no guarantee that having painstakingly fathomed them all, they have anything worthwhile to tell me.

Hmmm.....I see Moby Dick is full of problems for the modern reader:
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
My first reaction was - WTF?? :? I guess in those days people were fascinated by travel and these quaint descriptions of faraway places and their inhabitants. Personally I'm barely interested. I notice that the author also writes of Cato as if we've all got a degree in classical history. Times have changed! It's going to be a confusing read for anybody not steeped in the terminology and concepts of his time and social class. Maybe this modern plot synopsis would help?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby-Dick#Plot


You could be right, I may be passing over names too fast when I read and therefore getting frustrated too quickly. In separate sentences, characters names are easy to follow, but one after the other doing different things before a thought is finished! It can be so hard to keep them all in mind and in order..! lol
The way I ended up understanding it was by telling myself out loud, from the back of the sentence, what they were doing, so I started with "mom wants perfume" and built upon it from there. It worked, even though it was annoying! :rabbit:

Maybe I'll take up your rule of figuring out what about a sentence I didn't understand when it's confused me. I guess having a little patience would make it easier over time. What I usually do has never worked, hahaha. Normally, I stare at the line really hard for awhile, reading it over and over. I finally get angry and give up, and decide the writer is stupid for not being able to write a clearer sentence (even though I know the problem is probably me). :lol:

"The irony is, these books call for socialism and equality, but they are written in elitist language." Like black-tie fundraisers to help underprivileged children? That has always put me off about that entire genre of books, which is terrible because they're extremely relevant... much more than any book about slaying dragons in space... lmao.

The bit you posted of Moby Dick isn't so bad, I guess. The style seems the kind that would take a few pages, but you could "warm up" and understand it better. It was just that first sentence, years ago, that filled me with such rage... I will never forgive it. :lol:



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03 Feb 2011, 10:29 am

Chama wrote:
Maybe I'll take up your rule of figuring out what about a sentence I didn't understand when it's confused me. I guess having a little patience would make it easier over time. What I usually do has never worked, hahaha. Normally, I stare at the line really hard for awhile, reading it over and over. I finally get angry and give up, and decide the writer is stupid for not being able to write a clearer sentence (even though I know the problem is probably me). :lol:

The line-staring thing sounds like me. I just go into a loop where I'm not turning the printed words into thoughts any more. Even though I know better these days, I still get caught in it and wonder why my brain can't just discipline itself.

Quote:
"The irony is, these books call for socialism and equality, but they are written in elitist language." Like black-tie fundraisers to help underprivileged children?

Pretty much, yes.
Quote:
The bit you posted of Moby Dick isn't so bad, I guess. The style seems the kind that would take a few pages, but you could "warm up" and understand it better. It was just that first sentence, years ago, that filled me with such rage... I will never forgive it. :lol:

I still don't get Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves - "extreme downtown" finally made sense...I never saw those 2 words used like that before, I thought "downtown" was an adjective. I have no idea what he means by "battery" or "noble mole." :doh: Part of my problem is that I can't easily move onto the next sentence, unless I've understood the previous one. If I don't understand what I've read, how can I know whether it's possible to skip it without losing something important?

But yes, I think it's only a matter of time. It's fatal for me to try to read when I'm in a hurry. And the reader does eventually warm to the style, as you say. They threw Shakespeare at us in school, and at first it might as well have been Greek for all the sense it made, but after a few months it was surprising how much easier it got. Moby Dick is probably a lot like that.



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03 Feb 2011, 4:49 pm

grad_girl wrote:
It's interesting... what do I mean about the reasoning being intuitive, exactly? I guess it probably means that I use a different part of the brain to process the information than I might with a logic puzzle, in the same way that most people retain memories of faces in a different way than they retain memories of landscapes or other inanimate objects. Hard to explain, though!


To me, the answers seem logical; in other words, the written text basically tells you what each character is thinking- (in contrast to real life, where you can´t get inside anyone´s head). When they ask "he thinks that she believes....", I can deduce, from their actions, as well as what is written about their thoughts, what they are thinking. Even though I feel like I´m "analyzing it", it´s pretty easy to figure out, I don´t feel like I´m stressing my brain or anything. As I said earlier, the hardest part for me is to interpret the actual sentences, as well as to keep track of all the information, like who´s who.

But I assume that anybody, including NTs, would have to analyze it, as these are just words written on paper. I think where NTs are more intuitive is in life situations- visuals- where they can see the face, and they automatically understand the feelings of the person. I don´t know for sure, but based on what I´ve read, I think that´s where the "intuitive" stuff comes in.


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03 Feb 2011, 6:05 pm

Morgana wrote:
To me, the answers seem logical; in other words, the written text basically tells you what each character is thinking


Yes. I really don't see the significance of second-order vs first-order theory of mind. In fact, what is described is really not what I would consider "second-order", it's just the normal theory of mind extended to multiple individuals.


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