Factors that amplify and attenuate egocentric mentalizing

Andrew R. Todd, Diana I. Tamir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Egocentrism is a hallmark of human mentalizing endeavours. People frequently use their own minds as a point of departure when generating inferences about the minds of others. Although this starting point is rarely the end point, self-referential information often persists in biasing social inferences. In this Review, we describe models that can account for egocentric mentalizing in adults. We then identify factors that amplify and attenuate egocentrism in reasoning about the content of other minds. Specifically, we consider features of mentalizing targets that determine the extent to which they are socially proximal versus distant and, therefore, the extent to which they activate self-information; features of mentalizers that influence their ability or motivation to override an egocentric default; and features that can be deliberately modified to attenuate egocentrism during mentalizing. Finally, we conclude with several open questions that point to promising directions for future research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-180
Number of pages17
JournalNature Reviews Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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