Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2014, Psychonomic Society, Inc. In the director task (DT), participants are instructed to move objects within a grid of shelves while ignoring those objects that cannot be seen by a human figure, the “director,” located beyond the shelves. It is widely assumed that, since they are explicitly instructed to do, participants use mentalizing in this communicative task; they represent what the director can see, and therefore the DT provides important information about how and when mentalizing is used in adult life. We tested this view against a “submentalizing” hypothesis suggesting that DT performance depends on object-centered spatial coding, without mentalizing. As predicted by the submentalizing account, we found that DT performance was unchanged when the director was replaced by an inanimate object, a camera, and that participants with autism spectrum disorders were unimpaired, relative to matched control participants, in both the director and camera conditions. In combination with recent critical analyses of “implicit mentalizing,” these findings support the view that adults use mentalizing sparingly in psychological experiments and in everyday life.

Original publication

DOI

10.3758/s13423-014-0716-0

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychonomic Bulletin and Review

Publication Date

01/06/2015

Volume

22

Pages

844 - 849