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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 May;42:9-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.01.009. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Fractionating theory of mind: a meta-analysis of functional brain imaging studies.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria; Center for Neurocognitive Research, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria. Electronic address: matthias.schurz@sbg.ac.at.
2
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom; FIDMAG Germanes Hospitalaries Research Unit, CIBERSAM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria; Center for Neurocognitive Research, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.

Abstract

We meta-analyzed imaging studies on theory of mind and formed individual task groups based on stimuli and instructions. Overlap in brain activation between all task groups was found in the mPFC and in the bilateral posterior TPJ. This supports the idea of a core network for theory of mind that is activated whenever we are reasoning about mental states, irrespective of the task- and stimulus-formats (Mar, 2011). In addition, we found a number of task-related activation differences surrounding this core-network. ROI based analyses show that areas in the TPJ, the mPFC, the precuneus, the temporal lobes and the inferior frontal gyri have distinct profiles of task-related activation. Functional accounts of these areas are reviewed and discussed with respect to our findings.

KEYWORDS:

Anterior temporal lobe; Inferior frontal gyrus; Medial prefrontal cortex; Mentalizing; Meta-analysis; Precuneus; Task groups; Temporo-parietal junction; Theory of mind

PMID:
24486722
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.01.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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