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Jackie Thompson


Postdoctoral Research Associate


My research interests are in high-level cognition in humans; how do we learn and use complicated systems such as social knowledge, language, and numbers?

I currently work in the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group (SENRG) led by Professor Robin Dunbar.  My research investigates the unique human ability of mentalising, or “reading the minds” of others, by attributing their actions to underlying beliefs and motivations (also called 'theory of mind').

My research addresses the following questions: 1) which cognitive mechanisms are the basis for mentalising in adults? 2) How much, and in what ways, does mentalising vary among healthy adults? 3) How does mentalising support other social faculties, such as storytelling, charismatic leadership, and religion?  I use both behavioural methods and cognitive neuroscience methods (such as non-invasive brain stimulation, e.g.TMS and tDCS).

For my PhD at Oxford, I worked with Roi Cohen Kadosh on numerical cognition, spatial cognition, and synaesthesia.  As an undergraduate and research assistant at Yale, I conducted research on psycholinguistics with Carol Fowler, music cognition with Bruno Repp, and primate social cognition with Laurie Santos.

Recent publications

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