Blog of Sara Jakša

Different Social Understanding

I am right now going through my philosophy of mind notes (I can't believe, that I am only doing it now - but it does give me perspective, to only take the most interesting things). While toward the end of the semester, we also dealt with different theory of how we act in social interactions. So here I am going to try and write, from sparse notes and memories, what these different theories were.

The first theory is the folk theory of interaction. This one is understanding people based on their beliefs. So, each person is having beliefs and desires and we can predict intentions from it. So, a person is seen walking quickly, so they must be in a hurry sort of things.

In that was, it is a bit similar to the theory of mind, where we use the systematic models and law-like knowledge of people, in order to make prediction. So, a person knows about her opinion, so he will act like that sort of way.

The next one is simulation theory, where we simulate what is going to happen. This can happen subconsciously as well. The emotions are used and the main question is what, not how. So, what would I do?

The next one is sort of embedded theory. Normal children learn interaction skills through responses, since understanding of situation is part of the interaction. That is how we can immediately recognize that smile is joy, in a first person way. Here, not understanding another person is a feeling, not lack of knowledge. But there is a default assumption, that we are similar and act in accordance to social norms.

The last one is from enactivism. It is the structure of the environment, that makes people predictable. We know, how people will act in the funeral or while waiting for the bus and so on. Here misunderstanding means, that there is a lack of mutual reciprocity feeling. It uses the narrative building to create a story. We also create beliefs in a sense-making activity through interaction with other people.

I guess, at least phenomenologically, we use all of them in some situations. Which makes it so much harder to understand.