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David Roberts May 10
OK, y'all, time for some game theory. Ha ha, jk. It's actually time for some theory of mind! Gigantic tweetstorm to follow. Brace thyself.
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David Roberts
1. I want to riff on the point I made here, which I still think is central to our current political...uh, situation.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
2. "Theory of mind" (ToM) is a concept in psychology. To have a ToM is to interpret the behavior of others as reflecting inner states.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
3. It is to interpret behavior as issuing from, and evidence of, desires, beliefs, intentions, fears, etc.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
4. Humans typically develop ToM early, around 2-3. There are raging debates about whether various animals have ToM, or if so what kind.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
5. People on the autism spectrum have difficulty w/ ToM -- difficulty connecting behaviors to mental states, difficulty "reading" behavior.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
6. Autism-spectrum presents one kind of ToM problem: a rich text to be read, but a reader with difficulty reading.
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Kees van der Leun May 10
Replying to @drvox
I see where you're going ;)
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
7. There is, however, another (I suspect) more rare ToM problem, namely: sophisticated readers over-interpreting a text.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
8. Typical adults are drawn almost irresistibly to see behaviors as indicators of complex mental states - persistent beliefs, desires, etc.
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nothings monstered May 10
Replying to @drvox
A form of paredolia?
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Joseph Nobles May 10
Replying to @drvox
The Chauncey problem.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
9. Here's the thing: Trump, by all indications, does not have beliefs, intentions, etc. that are stable, persistent across contexts.
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David Plotz May 10
Replying to @drvox
I like where you're going with this
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
10. He is attuned to who is dominating & who is submissive *in the situation he finds himself in*. It is 100% situational, 0% persistent.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
11. He seeks domination. That's all. He does not care about, or even seem cognizant of, lying, reversing himself, switching loyalties, etc.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
12. He's like a goldfish. No beliefs, intentions, plans, or schemes are carried from place to place. Every situation is new.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
13. There is, in a very real sense, no "mind" as such, only a set of animal impulses -- seek approbation, avoid blame, dominate, win.
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
14. Here's the problem: healthy adults are simply *not accustomed to dealing w/ someone like that*. It is a rare pathology ...
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David Roberts May 10
Replying to @drvox
15. ... and even rarer for someone to be so protected by money/power/family that they can succeed in life despite the pathology.
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