ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 778-787.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00778

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ERP research on theory of mind: Perspective from the multiple elements framework

JIANG Qin1,2; LI Hong1,3   

  1. (1 Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China) (2 School of Education, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China) (3 College of Psychology and Sociology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China)
  • Received:2016-09-20 Online:2017-05-15 Published:2017-05-15
  • Contact: LI Hong, E-mail:


Theory of mind is one of the core abilities of social cognition. Most event-related potential (ERP) studies on theory of mind were conducted under the framework of multiple elements, including belief, desire, intention, and emotion. Previous studies have suggested several converging results: first, different elements in theory of mind might elicit distinct ERP components; second, the ERP components associated with specific elements suggest consistent patterns of scalp distribution across task paradigm; third, the developmental ERP studies on theory of mind reveal similar patterns in children and adults, except longer time window and broader distribution for children. Future research could focus on issues as follows: to design task paradigm fit for ERP technical demands; to complete the framework of theory of mind; to further explore the general electrophysiological mechanisms underlying theory of mind processing.

Key words: theory of mind, multiple elements, event-related potentials, time course