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John Michael
Aarhus University
Jessica Michael
Wayne State University
  1. Joint action goals reduce visuomotor interference effects from a partner’s incongruent actions.Sam Clarke, Luke McEllin, Anna Francová, Marcell Székely, Stephen Andrew Butterfill & John Michael - 2019 - Scientific Reports 9 (1).
    Joint actions often require agents to track others’ actions while planning and executing physically incongruent actions of their own. Previous research has indicated that this can lead to visuomotor interference effects when it occurs outside of joint action. How is this avoided or overcome in joint actions? We hypothesized that when joint action partners represent their actions as interrelated components of a plan to bring about a joint action goal, each partner’s movements need not be represented in relation to distinct, (...)
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  2.  5
    The philosophy and psychology of commitment.John Michael - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    The phenomenon of commitment is a cornerstone of human social life. Commitments make individuals' behavior predictable, thereby facilitating the planning and coordination of joint actions involving multiple agents. Moreover, commitments make people willing to rely upon each other, and thereby contribute to sustaining characteristically human social institutions such as jobs, money, government and marriage. However, it is not well understood how people identify and assess the level of their own and others' commitments. The Philosophy and Psychology of Commitment explores and (...)
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  3.  54
    The Sense of Commitment: A Minimal Approach.John Michael, Natalie Sebanz & Günther Knoblich - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
  4.  91
    The interactive turn in social cognition research: A critique.Søren Overgaard & John Michael - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):160-183.
    Proponents of the so-called “interactive turn in social cognition research” maintain that mainstream research on social cognition has been fundamentally flawed by its neglect of social interaction, and that a new paradigm is needed in order to redress this shortcoming. We argue that proponents of the interactive turn (“interactionists”) have failed to properly substantiate their criticisms of existing research on social cognition. Although it is sometimes unclear precisely what these criticisms of existing theories are supposed to target, we sketch two (...)
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  5.  81
    Interactionism and Mindreading.John Michael - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):559-578.
    In recent years, a number of theorists have developed approaches to social cognition that highlight the centrality of social interaction as opposed to mindreading (e.g. Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ; Gallagher 2001 , 2007 , 2008 ; Hobson 2002 ; Reddy 2008 ; Hutto 2004 ; De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher and Di Paolo 2007 ; Fuchs and De Jaegher 2009 ; De Jaegher et al. 2010 ). There are important differences among these approaches, as I will discuss, but (...)
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  6. Shared Emotions and Joint Action.John Michael - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):355-373.
    In recent years, several minimalist accounts of joint action have been offered (e.g. Tollefsen Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35:75–97, 2005; Sebanz et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(6): 234–1246, 2006; Vesper et al. Neural Networks 23 (8/9): 998–1003, 2010), which seek to address some of the shortcomings of classical accounts. Minimalist accounts seek to reduce the cognitive complexity demanded by classical accounts either by leaving out shared intentions or by characterizing them in a way that (...)
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  7. Why Desire Reasoning is Developmentally Prior to Belief Reasoning.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & John Michael - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):526-549.
    The predominant view in developmental psychology is that young children are able to reason with the concept of desire prior to being able to reason with the concept of belief. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon that focuses on the cognitive tasks that competence with the belief and desire concepts enable young children to perform. We show that cognitive tasks that are typically considered fundamental to our competence with the belief and desire concepts can be performed with the concept (...)
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  8. Training in compensatory strategies enhances rapport in interactions involving people with Möebius Syndrome.John Michael, Kathleen Bogart, Kristian Tylen, Joel Krueger, Morten Bech, John R. Ostergaard & Riccardo Fusaroli - 2015 - Frontiers in Neurology 6 (213):1-11.
    In the exploratory study reported here, we tested the efficacy of an intervention designed to train teenagers with Möbius syndrome (MS) to increase the use of alternative communication strategies (e.g., gestures) to compensate for their lack of facial expressivity. Specifically, we expected the intervention to increase the level of rapport experienced in social interactions by our participants. In addition, we aimed to identify the mechanisms responsible for any such increase in rapport. In the study, five teenagers with MS interacted with (...)
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  9.  36
    Observing joint action: Coordination creates commitment.John Michael, Natalie Sebanz & Günther Knoblich - 2016 - Cognition 157 (C):106-113.
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  10.  15
    1. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift (pp. 169-188).Marc Lange, Peter Vickers, John Michael, Miles MacLeod, Alexander R. Pruss, David John Baker, Clark Glymour & Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):169-188.
    Really statistical explanation is a hitherto neglected form of noncausal scientific explanation. Explanations in population biology that appeal to drift are RS explanations. An RS explanation supplies a kind of understanding that a causal explanation of the same result cannot supply. Roughly speaking, an RS explanation shows the result to be mere statistical fallout.
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  11.  47
    On Commitments and Other Uncertainty Reduction Tools in Joint Action.John Michael & Elisabeth Pacherie - 2014 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (1):89–120.
    In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which uncertainty (...)
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  12.  24
    The Developmental Origins of Commitment.John Michael & Marcell Székely - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):106-123.
  13. Towards a Consensus About the Role of Empathy in Interpersonal Understanding.John Michael - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):157-172.
    In recent years, there has been a great deal of controversy in the philosophy of mind, developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience both about how to conceptualize empathy and about the connections between empathy and interpersonal understanding. Ideally, we would first establish a consensus about how to conceptualize empathy, and then analyze the potential contribution of empathy to interpersonal understanding. However, it is not at all clear that such a consensus will soon be forthcoming, given that different people have fundamentally conflicting (...)
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  14.  33
    Investing in commitment: Persistence in a joint action is enhanced by the perception of a partner’s effort.Marcell Székely & John Michael - 2018 - Cognition 174 (C):37-42.
    Can the perception that one’s partner is investing effort generate a sense of commitment to a joint action? To test this, we developed a 2-player version of the classic snake game which became increasingly boring over the course of each round. This enabled us to operationalize commitment in terms of how long participants persisted before pressing a ‘finish’ button to conclude each round. Our results from three experiments reveal that participants persisted longer when they perceived what they believed to be (...)
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  15.  50
    How direct is social perception?John Michael & Leon De Bruin - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 36:373-375.
  16.  32
    Perceiving commitments: When we both know that you are counting on me.Francesca Bonalumi, John Michael & Christophe Heintz - 2021 - Mind and Language 37 (4):502-524.
    Can commitments be generated without promises, commissive speech acts or gestures that are conventionally interpreted as such? While we remain neutral with respect to the normative answer to this question, we propose a psychological answer. Specifically, we hypothesize that people at least believe that commitments are in place if one agent (the sender) has led a second agent (the recipient) to rely on her to do something, and if this is mutually known by the two agents. Crucially, this situation can (...)
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  17.  42
    Investing in commitment : persistence in a joint action is enhanced by the perception of a partner's effort.Marcell Székely & John Michael - 2018 - Cognition 174 (C):37-42.
    Can the perception that one’s partner is investing effort generate a sense of commitment to a joint action? To test this, we developed a 2-player version of the classic snake game which became increasingly boring over the course of each round. This enabled us to operationalize commitment in terms of how long participants persisted before pressing a ‘finish’ button to conclude each round. Our results from three experiments reveal that participants persisted longer when they perceived what they believed to be (...)
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  18.  17
    Goal Slippage: A Mechanism for Spontaneous Instrumental Helping in Infancy?John Michael & Marcell Székely - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):173-183.
    In recent years, developmental psychologists have increasingly been interested in various forms of prosocial behavior observed in infants and young children—in particular comforting, sharing, pointing to provide information, and spontaneous instrumental helping. We briefly review several models that have been proposed to explain the psychological mechanisms underpinning these behaviors. Focusing on spontaneous instrumental helping, we home in on models based upon what Paulus :77–81, 2014) has dubbed ‘goal-alignment’, i.e. the idea that the identification of an agent’s goal leads infants to (...)
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  19. Mindreading as social expertise.John Michael, Wayne Christensen & Søren Overgaard - 2014 - Synthese 191 (5):1-24.
    In recent years, a number of approaches to social cognition research have emerged that highlight the importance of embodied interaction for social cognition (Reddy, How infants know minds, 2008; Gallagher, J Conscious Stud 8:83–108, 2001; Fuchs and Jaegher, Phenom Cogn Sci 8:465–486, 2009; Hutto, in Seemans (ed.) Joint attention: new developments in psychology, philosophy of mind and social neuroscience, 2012). Proponents of such ‘interactionist’ approaches emphasize the importance of embodied responses that are engaged in online social interaction, and which, according (...)
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  20.  55
    “The Group Knobe Effect”: evidence that people intuitively attribute agency and responsibility to groups.John Andrew Michael & András Szigeti - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (1):44-61.
    In the current paper, we present and discuss a series of experiments in which we investigated people’s willingness to ascribe intentions, as well as blame and praise, to groups. The experiments draw upon the so-called “Knobe Effect”. Knobe [2003. “Intentional action and side effects in ordinary language.” Analysis 63: 190–194] found that the positiveness or negativeness of side-effects of actions influences people’s assessment of whether those side-effects were brought about intentionally, and also that people are more willing to assign blame (...)
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  21.  41
    The Sense of Effort: a Cost-Benefit Theory of the Phenomenology of Mental Effort.Marcell Székely & John Michael - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):889-904.
    In the current paper, we articulate a theory to explain the phenomenology of mental effort. The theory provides a working definition of mental effort, explains in what sense mental effort is a limited resource, and specifies the factors that determine whether or not mental effort is experienced as aversive. The core of our theory is the conjecture that the sense of effort is the output of a cost-benefit analysis. This cost-benefit analysis employs heuristics to weigh the current and anticipated costs (...)
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  22.  24
    Flexible goal attribution in early mindreading.John Michael & Wayne Christensen - 2016 - Psychological Review 123 (2):219-227.
  23.  33
    What Are Shared Emotions ?John Michael - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
  24.  24
    Stopping at nothing : two-year-olds differentiate between interrupted and abandoned goals.Alexander Green, Barbora Siposova, Sotaro Kita & John Michael - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
    Previous research has established that goal tracking emerges early in the first year of life and rapidly becomes increasingly sophisticated. However, it has not yet been shown whether young children continue to update their representations of others’ goals over time. The current study investigates this by probing young children’s ability to differentiate between goal directed actions that have been halted because the goal was interrupted, and because the goal was abandoned. To test whether children are sensitive to this distinction, we (...)
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  25.  35
    Cueing Implicit Commitment.Francesca Bonalumi, Margherita Isella & John Michael - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):669-688.
    Despite the importance of commitment for distinctively human forms of sociality, it remains unclear how people prioritize and evaluate their own and others’ commitments - especially implicit commitments. Across two sets of online studies, we found evidence in support of the hypothesis that people’s judgments and attitudes about implicit commitments are governed by an implicit sense of commitment, which is modulated by cues to others’ expectations, and by cues to the costs others have invested on the basis of those expectations.
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  26.  30
    Domain-specific and domain-general processes in social perception – A complementary approach.John Michael & Alessandro D’Ausilio - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 36:434-437.
    In this brief discussion, we explicate and evaluate Heyes and colleagues’ deflationary approach to interpreting apparent evidence of domain-specific processes for social percep- tion. We argue that the deflationary approach sheds important light on how functionally specific processes in social perception can be subserved at least in part by domain-general processes. On the other hand, we also argue that the fruitfulness of this approach has been unnecessarily hampered by a contrastive conception of the relationship between domain- general and domain-specific processes. (...)
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  27. Beyond avatars and arrows: Testing the mentalizing and submentalizing hypotheses with a novel entity paradigm.Evan Westra, Brandon F. Terrizzi, Simon T. van Baal, Jonathan S. Beier & John Michael - forthcoming - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
    In recent years, there has been a heated debate about how to interpret findings that seem to show that humans rapidly and automatically calculate the visual perspectives of others. In the current study, we investigated the question of whether automatic interference effects found in the dot-perspective task (Samson, Apperly, Braithwaite, Andrews, & Bodley Scott, 2010) are the product of domain-specific perspective-taking processes or of domain-general “submentalizing” processes (Heyes, 2014). Previous attempts to address this question have done so by implementing inanimate (...)
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  28.  5
    Sensorimotor communication fosters trust and generosity: The role of effort and signal utility.Luke McEllin & John Michael - 2022 - Cognition 224:105066.
  29.  12
    Getting Ready to Share Commitments.Antonio Scarafone & John Michael - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):135-159.
    Paul Grice’s theory of meaning has been widely adopted as a starting point for investigating the evolutionary and developmental emergence of linguistic communication. In this picture, reasoning about complexes of intentions is a prerequisite for communicating effectively at the prelinguistic level, as well as for acquiring a natural language. We argue that this broadly ‘Gricean’ picture rests on an equivocation between theories of communication and theories of cognition, and that it leads to paradoxical or implausible claims about human psychology. We (...)
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  30.  85
    Should I stay or should I go? Three-year-olds’ reactions to appropriate motives to interrupt a joint activity.Francesca Bonalumi, Barbora Siposova, Wayne Christensen & John Michael - 2023 - PLoS ONE 18 (7):e0288401.
    Understanding when it is acceptable to interrupt a joint activity is an important part of understanding what cooperation entails. Philosophical analyses have suggested that we should release our partner from a joint activity anytime the activity conflicts with fulfilling a moral obligation. To probe young children’s understanding of this aspect, we investigated whether 3-year-old children (N = 60) are sensitive to the legitimacy of motives (selfish condition vs. moral condition) leading agents to intentionally interrupt their joint activity. We measured whether (...)
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  31.  85
    Putting unicepts to work: a teleosemantic perspective on the infant mindreading puzzle.John Michael - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4365-4388.
    In this paper, I show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants and young children to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content, i.e., to the notion that the distal content of a mental representation is fixed by the core body of knowledge that is associated with that mental representation. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it possible to endorse the (...)
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  32. Control and Flexibility of Interactive Alignment: Mobius Syndrome as a Case Study.John Michael, Kathleen Bogart, Kristian Tylen, Joel Krueger, Morten Bech, John R. Ostergaard & Riccardo Fusaroli - 2014 - Cognitive Processing 15 (1):S125-126.
  33. Sensorimotor accounts of joint attention.Alexander Maye, Carme Isern-Mas, Pamela Barone & John A. Michael - 2017 - Scholarpedia 12 (2):42361.
    Joint attention is a social-cognitive phenomenon in which two or more agents direct their attention together towards the same object. Definitions range from this rather broad conception to more specific definitions which require that, in addition, attention be directed to the same aspect of that object and that agents need to be mutually aware of their jointly attending. Joint attention is an important coordination mechanism in joint action. The capacity for engaging in joint attention, in particular in the sense of (...)
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  34.  12
    Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition.Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.) - 2014 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition brings together contributions discussing issues arising from theoretical and empirical research on social ontology and social cognition. It is the first comprehensive interdisciplinary collection in this rapidly expanding area. The contributors draw upon their diverse backgrounds in philosophy, cognitive science, behavioral economics, sociology of science and anthropology. -/- Based largely on contributions to the first Aarhus-Paris conference held at the University of Aarhus in June 2012, the book addresses such questions as: If the (...)
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  35. On Commitments and Other Uncertainty Reduction Tools.John Michael & Elisabeth Pacherie - unknown
    In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which uncertainty (...)
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  36. Objects in Mind.Mattia Gallotti & John Michael - 2014 - In Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.), Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition. Springer.
  37.  34
    What (If Anything) Is Shared in Pain Empathy? A Critical Discussion of De Vignemont and Jacob’s Theory of the Neural Substrate of Pain Empathy.John Michael & Francesca Fardo - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):154-160.
    In a recent article in Philosophy of Science, De Vignemont and Jacob defend the view that empathy involves interpersonal similarity between an empathizer and a target person with respect to internal affective states. Focusing on empathy for pain, they propose a theory of the neural substrate of pain empathy. We point out several flaws in their interpretation of the data and argue that currently available data do not differentiate between De Vignemont and Jacob’s model and alternative models. Finally, we offer (...)
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  38.  29
    Thinking (about) groups: a special issue of Synthese.Alessandro Salice, John Michael & András Szigeti - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4809-4812.
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  39.  12
    The perception of a robot partner’s effort elicits a sense of commitment to human-robot interaction.Marcell Székely, Henry Powell, Fabio Vannucci, Francesco Rea, Alessandra Sciutti & John Michael - 2019 - Interaction Studies 20 (2):234-255.
    Previous research has shown that the perception that one’s partner is investing effort in a joint action can generate a sense of commitment, leading participants to persist longer despite increasing boredom. The current research extends this finding to human-robot interaction. We implemented a 2-player version of the classic snake game which became increasingly boring over the course of each round, and operationalized commitment in terms of how long participants persisted before pressing a ‘finish’ button to conclude each round. Participants were (...)
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  40.  59
    Prediction Error Minimization as a Framework for Social Cognition Research.Leon de Bruin & John Michael - 2018 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):1-20.
    The main aim of this article is to give an assessment of prediction error minimization as a unifying theoretical framework for the study of social cognition. We show how this framework can be used to synthesize and systematically relate existing data from social cognition research, and explain how it introduces new constraints for further research. We discuss PEM in relation to other theoretical frameworks of social cognition, and identify the main challenges that this approach to social cognition will need to (...)
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  41.  20
    Using episodic memory to gauge implicit and/or indeterminate social commitments.John Michael, Marcell Székely & Wayne Christensen - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  42. Applying the causal theory of reference to intentional concepts.John Michael & Miles MacLeod - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):212-230.
    We argue that many recent philosophical discussions about the reference of everyday concepts of intentional states have implicitly been predicated on descriptive theories of reference. To rectify this, we attempt to demonstrate how a causal theory can be applied to intentional concepts. Specifically, we argue that some phenomena in early social de- velopment ðe.g., mimicry, gaze following, and emotional contagionÞ can serve as refer- ence fixers that enable children to track others’ intentional states and, thus, to refer to those states. (...)
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  43.  22
    Nuance Lost in Translation: Interpretations of J. F. Blumenbach’s Anthropology in the English Speaking World.John S. Michael - 2017 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 25 (3):281-309.
    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach has been called ‘The Father of Physical Anthropology’ because of his pioneering publications describing human racial variation. He proposed a racial typology consisting of five ‘major varieties/races’ of humanity. Since the 1990s, Londa Schiebinger and other Anglophone scholars have argued that Blumenbach’s writings on race show evidence that he was significantly influenced by nineteenth-century race supremacist beliefs which held Europeans/caucasians to be the highest ranked and most beautiful race. However, these modern authors relied largely on Thomas Bendyshe’s (...)
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  44.  13
    A view from mindreading on fast-and-slow thinking.Jason Low, Stephen A. Butterfill & John Michael - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e130.
    De Neys's incisive critique of empirical and theoretical research on the exclusivity feature underscores the depth of the challenge of explaining the interplay of fast and slow processes. We argue that a closer look at research on mindreading reveals abundant evidence for the exclusivity feature – as well as methodological and theoretical perspectives that could inform research on fast and slow thinking.
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  45.  21
    Intuitions about joint commitment.John Michael & Stephen Butterfill - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    ABSTRACT In what sense is commitment essential to joint action, and do the participants in a joint action themselves perceive commitment as essential? Attempts to answer this question have so far been hampered by clashes of intuition. Perhaps this is because the intuitions in question have mostly been investigated using informal methods only. To explore this possibility, we adopted a more formal approach to testing intuitions about joint action, sampling naïve participants’ intuitions about experimentally controlled scenarios. This approach did reveal (...)
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  46.  71
    Mental Actions and Mental Agency.Anika Fiebich & John Michael - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):683-693.
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  47.  36
    Beltrami's model and the independence of the parallel postulate.J. Scanlan Michael - 1988 - History and Philosophy of Logic 9 (1):13-34.
    E. Beltrami in 1868 did not intend to prove the consistency of non-euclidean plane geometry nor the independence of the euclidean parallel postulate. His approach would have been unsuccessful if so intended. J. Hoüel in 1870 described the relevance of Beltrami's work to the issue of the independence of the euclidean parallel postulate. Hoüel's method is different from the independence proofs using reinterpretation of terms deployed by Peano about 1890, chiefly in using a fixed interpretation for non-logical terms. Comparing the (...)
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  48.  9
    Finish what you started : 2-year-olds motivated by a preference for completing others' unfinished actions in instrumental helping contexts.John Michael, Alexander Green, Barbora Siposova, Keith Jensen & Sotaro Kita - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (6).
    A considerable body of research has documented the emergence of what appears to be instrumental helping behavior in early childhood. The current study tested the hypothesis that one basic psychological mechanism motivating this behavior is a preference for completing unfinished actions. To test this, a paradigm was implemented in which 2-year-olds (n = 34, 16 female/18 male, mostly White middle-class children) could continue an adult’s action when the adult no longer wanted to complete the action. The results showed that children (...)
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  49. Automatic Reinforcement: An Important but Ignored Concept.Margaret E. Vaughan & Jack L. Michael - 1982 - Behaviorism 10 (2):217-227.
  50.  29
    Books for review and for listing here should be addressed to Emily Zakin, Review Editor, Teaching Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.Robert Almeder, Lynne Rudder Baker, José Luis Bermúdez, James Robert Brown, Jeremy Butterfield, Constantine Pagonis, Steven M. Cahn, John D. Caputo, J. Michael & Timothy R. Colburn - 2000 - Teaching Philosophy 23 (2):227.
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