Discussion
Started 2nd Jul, 2020
  • Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.

Mentalization vs the Theory of Mind: the issue of Cognition vs affect.

There are two theories that are quite similar in nature, but different in substance, The theory of Mind and the theory of Mentaliz(S)ation, sorry, Im allergic to American spelling...pls dont kill me now :-) My understanding of them is this "Both of these concepts, mentalization and the theory of mind, describes processes that are metacognitive in their nature . Mentalization mainly concerns the reflection of affective or emotional mental states. In contrast however the, theory of mind focuses on things epistemic in nature such as beliefs, intentions and persuasions. My idea is that these two theories by them self are incomplete but combining elements of both, gives us a clearer understanding. Cognition and affect can't in my view be separated, they are both part of us as human beings and also a part of other animals. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong or right? I can stand criticism so bring it on...

Most recent answer

28th Aug, 2020
Muhammad Yahya Qureshi
KRIC (Knowledge Research & Innovation Center), Pakistan
Dear Henrik G.S. Arvidsson I dont agree with you that mentalization and the theory of mind are incomplete, I would rather say they are vague and trying to beat about the bush. However, I agree with you that both facets; physical and non-physical go side by side as the two sides of the river, they are two different identities, yet essential and part of the same one entity the river. I think to understand mind we have to answer following questions:-
1. What are numerous non-physical entities, dimensions, constructs & elements.
2. What is the hierarchical / Interrelationship model.
3. How does theses non-physical entities function individually.
4. How does Multiple simultaneous occurrences and their effects occur.
5 What is the trans-formative phenomenon of mind and how it occurs.
6. What can be a perceived Mind Model.
6 Recommendations

Popular replies (1)

28th Aug, 2020
Muhammad Yahya Qureshi
KRIC (Knowledge Research & Innovation Center), Pakistan
Dear Henrik G.S. Arvidsson I dont agree with you that mentalization and the theory of mind are incomplete, I would rather say they are vague and trying to beat about the bush. However, I agree with you that both facets; physical and non-physical go side by side as the two sides of the river, they are two different identities, yet essential and part of the same one entity the river. I think to understand mind we have to answer following questions:-
1. What are numerous non-physical entities, dimensions, constructs & elements.
2. What is the hierarchical / Interrelationship model.
3. How does theses non-physical entities function individually.
4. How does Multiple simultaneous occurrences and their effects occur.
5 What is the trans-formative phenomenon of mind and how it occurs.
6. What can be a perceived Mind Model.
6 Recommendations

All replies (34)

2nd Jul, 2020
Stephen I. Ternyik
Techno-Logos, Inc., since 1985
Theory of mind is a much broader concept; mentalization is about all internal processes (affective and cognitive) between stimulus and response; in this sense, both concepts were developed to overcome traditional behaviorism.
3 Recommendations
2nd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Yes I agree but I also see a slightly different enphasis when it comes to cognition/ affect
1 Recommendation
2nd Jul, 2020
H.G. Callaway
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
Dear Arvidsson & readers,
You wrote:
Cognition and affect can't in my view be separated, they are both part of us as human beings and also a part of other animals. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong or right?
---End quotation
"Cognition and affect," you say, "can't … be separated." Well, of course, in the sense that "they are both part of us as human beings," we can't separate them in the sense of eliminating one or the other. We don't want to eliminate either.
But in conceptualization of the distinction, we do separate them. We are aware, for instance that "hot cognition" tends toward more impulsive turns and acts, while cooler, more dispassionate discourse, debate or discussion depend on self-restraint on the immediate flow of emotion. In consequence it can be taxing or frustrating to the initiates. But this kind of self-restraint is widely viewed as an intellectual, even a moral virtue --a cultivate ability and eventual disposition. It seems that both in theory and in practice, we do "separate" cognition and affect and consider them distinct. So, let that much be recognized and accepted.
On the other hand, it is clear that if we did not care about anything in the sense that no matter what happened we would have no emotional reaction, then we would have little motivation (little reason, one might say) to engage in complex cognition, debate, discussion or discourse. What this tells us is that cognition also has its underlying emotional tone and basis, which, in fact, is reflected in personal ideals dating from ancient times: the desirability of "tranquility," or say, "eudemon," Greek, and literally to be of "good spirit," and conventionally translated as "happiness."
Classically, I think it is clearly recognized that there are varieties of developed character among human beings which are strongly rational and discursive and yet quite passionate in devotion to ideas and ideals.
H.G. Callaway
4 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Christian Jost
Fachklinik Marienborn
So far the schoolbook. But to understand the concepts behind it is important to regard EMotion as Energy in Motion. We often confuse our attempt to capture this energy (affect or emotional expression) with this energy. And our Mind is just a tool, a good friend, but we are NOT the mind, nor our emotions, nor the reaction of surroundings... So follow the inspiering question: What are we without mind, emotion, past, josb, relationships etc?
3 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Stanley Wilkin
University of London
That the process of cognition has or can have environmental motivations, with concerns of gain in one form or another, would seem to remove it from the impetus of affect, which ideally it should be. As a process of discovery need not be connected with environmental affect but have or seem to have internalised affect motivations merely continues the confusion.
There is therefore no clear way out.
2 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Yes I think to answer the first Question by Dr Callaway. Yes they are separate but still tied together, if we look at attitudes for example there is a cognitive and an affective component. We must for the sake of discussion at least separate them but what I meant was that in this context we can not focus merely or mostly on one of them. And if we look at the issue of mental illness...even a distorted or dysfunctional thought, reasoning process or affect not based in logic as we see it is still probably logical to the subject, the MD might think it is not logical because he or she is usually a more or less healthy person with fully functioning cognitive skills/Pathways and affects that are in line with what is considered as normal, ( Im not talking about Dr Lecter here ;.) : . What I meant was that those two theories partly puts emphasis on different aspects, cognition and affect ( Im oversimplifying now perhaps) but what I mean is that perhaps we should adopt a more holistic approach to mental illness? Your thoughts?
3 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Stanley Wilkin
University of London
Henrik, I am interested in your assertion of adopting a more holistic approach to mental illness but to do so means a radical change in both the structures of care and restructuring of theories. I think. But more on what you conceive of as an holistic approach?
2 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Well that is a deeper discussion. Im a humanist ( Carl Rogers) but thats another issue ??. In this case I was mainly talking about two theories that partly overlap. No Im not planning to restructure any theories.. Im way to old for that.. maybe better to formulate one of my own. " The theory of all" and then run before people start picking it apart ??
3 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Stanley Wilkin
University of London
Give it a go and learn to run faster.
It is one of my interests having worked in the field. The domination of the field by medical viewpoint is and has always been disaster.
2 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Yes I can imagine.. I often stick my nose out and I sometimes have to pay for it.. I made a Jordan Peterson type argument regarding social science and it felt like being chased by a Terminator..they just attacked and attacked.. in the end I sort of found my self in a 1 vs 100 debate..it was funny but exhausting ??
1 Recommendation
3rd Jul, 2020
Nicolás Arias Velandia
Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano
Dr Arvidsson:
I've worked with the concept of Theory of Mind. It comes from the cognitive view on child development, but I don't feel that it excludes emotional aspects. Most of the empircal works in that area understand "cognition" as a dimension in human life whose emphasis is in how people give order and sense to their world, including themselves in it.
An there is another important aspect to me: a body of research show that ToM milestones are related to sophistacated ways to socialize in childhood and beyond... and it is highly related to advances in metacognition, self regulated learning (self-regulation in general), and executive funcioning (in "cold" and "warm", functions).
So, I think that it could be a way to speak, but referring to some emphasis to analize the same phenomena in child development.
3 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Dear Nicholas I hope you are doing well. I didn't say it excluded... So you think the theory of mind covers the same aspects as Mentalization? Did I understand you correctly? I know both theories but my question was more a one of where the focus lies but do I understand you correctly when I say that both theories covers the same things basically ? How do you perceive the difference between the two theories? If you see any difference that is? Best wishes Henrik
1 Recommendation
3rd Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Ps I always found it more interesting to get an understanding how others view the world and for example different theories...It makes life more interesting :-)
2 Recommendations
3rd Jul, 2020
Nicolás Arias Velandia
Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano
I basically think that there are no difference between the two theories, Dr Arvidsson. Driving it to get empirical consequences, they are working in the same phenomena and interests.
1 Recommendation
5th Jul, 2020
Christopher Zieske
Schreiner University
For me, the distinction between cognition and affect is largely artificial. This is not necessarily a criticism of the act of distinguishing between cognition and affect—I do not necessarily use the term "artificial" in a critical way, for I believe that much of reality is, by necessity, constructed by humans. However, I believe that because the cognition/affect distinction is largely provided by humans rather than human nature simply for the purposes of studying cognition and affect, once we make the distinction, we should always reconnect the cognition and the affect after interpreting them separately. If we are to study affect and cognition as if they are separate by nature, than we will only be confusing themselves, for cognition and affect are not distinguished by nature, but by humans for our own purposes. As Henrik G.S. Arvidsson states in an earlier comment, "if we look at attitudes... there is a cognitive and affective component." Therefore, though we may be able to distinguish between cognition and affect in order to study each in their own right, with cognition usually referring to the dry thoughts (particularly verbal self-speak) that a person has during an experience and affect usually referring more to the subjective feeling of the experience, we must always bring them back to their original state of un-differentiation in order to fully understand both, for neither could have occurred without the other.
1 Recommendation
6th Jul, 2020
Fabián Labra-Spr?hnle
Victoria University of Wellington
Henrik,
To my knowledge and conceptually, the most cogent treatment of this issue was developed by Xavier Zubiri in his work "Sentient Intelligence".
Piaget: "Intelligence and Affectivity: Their Relationship During Child Development" is a must read too.
Historically, Gomez Pereira deals with this issue as early as 1554 in his "Antoniana Margarita". https://brill.com/view/book/9789004395046/BP000002.xml
Cheers,
Fabian
1 Recommendation
9th Jul, 2020
Margaret H. Freeman
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Thanks to Fabian for the Zubiri reference. I think the question Henrik raises and the following comments indicate that clarification is needed as to the definiton of cognition. Traditionally it has meant the logic and reasoning aspects of human minding, i.e. conscious conceptualisation as opposed to pre-conscious sensory, kinesic, and emotive processes. The cognitive revolution, however, has defined "cognition" more broadly to include these subliminal processes. Therefore under this view, conceptualisation and affect (all the sensory-motor-emotive processes of being human) are not separate but integrated, as I have argued in my own work.
I think "Theory of Mind" has a different emphasis, as pointed out by several commentators, as being concerned with how we perceive and respond to the minding of others. Note that I use the term "minding" rather than "mind" because the reification of minding has led to the consequence of thinking about mind as an object rather than a process.
2 Recommendations
9th Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Dear Margret ( And all other participants) Thank you for your answer(s) and sorry for not actively participating more in the discussion towards the end. We have a cat who decided to fly from the third floor and it didn't go well, some issues with the landing gear I suppose so he ended up in hospital but is now at 顺心彩票 again. Perhaps I didn't define cognition and that was perhaps something I should have done. So ( Margret) You don't agree with my basic assumption "theory of mind, describes processes that are metacognitive in their nature . Mentalization mainly concerns the reflection of affective or emotional mental states. In contrast however the, theory of mind focuses on things epistemic in nature such as beliefs, intentions and persuasions." Since Im interested. Can you send me your article? Best wishes and I hope your summer isn't raining away the way mine is.. :-) Margaret H. Freeman
1 Recommendation
9th Jul, 2020
Margaret H. Freeman
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Dear Henrik:
Thanks for your reply. I'm glad your cat survived the fall. I work in poetry so my take on your initial question does not so much concern theory of mind as it does the aesthetics of cognition, which I argue underlies all human cognitive activities, not just the arts. Details of my book, The Poem as Icon: A Study in Aesthetic Cognition, can be found at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-poem-as-icon-9780190080419?cc=us&lang=en&. It is also available at Amazon. It is still under copyright unfortunately.
3 Recommendations
9th Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Dear Margret
Thank you. Yes it was touch and go there for a while. Another one of our cats did the same a few years back but he was ok. I thought this would be also but it turned out to be a fractured shoulder, jawbone and a lot of soft tissue injuries inside the mouth, It seems the cat truly have 9 lives but sometimes it seems they spend on or two of them on stupid things..I probably have to start a go fund me collection or something but at least he is alive and well and right now the absolute centre of attention which he truly enjoys haha.
1 Recommendation
11th Jul, 2020
Christopher Zieske
Schreiner University
Thanks to the fact that Henrik G.S. Arvidsson recommended your article, "The Aesthetics of Human Cognition", I have been able to download the full text for this article that you uploaded to RG. I am rather looking forward to reading this article, and engaging in your discussion of the aesthetics of cognition. It seems that you are embracing an approach to cognition that has simply been lacking in the current psychological literature, and I have no doubt that I will find this discussion enlightening.
Best regards,
Christopher Zieske
2 Recommendations
11th Jul, 2020
Margaret H. Freeman
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Thank you, Christopher, for locating an earlier article I had written and identifying it for others. A more complete argument appears in my book. And, yes, I am arguing that the esthetic faculty includes purpose, discrimination, expertise, judgment, and creative activity. ascribed to our imaginative understanding. It underlies all human cognitive activity, though it functions differently in the arts and the sciences. Jessica Riskin's review of Henry Cowles The Scientific Method in a recent issue of the New York Times Book Review is worth reading, as is the book itself, which I'm currently doing.
2 Recommendations
12th Jul, 2020
Nicolás Arias Velandia
Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano
How interesting is developing this discusion!
Reading your posts, I think that some fields emerge as groups of new findings. And sometimes, they are, at least at the beginning, related to similar findings and theorization in other reaearch fields, but at that initial moment we are not aware about that possible relationships.
I think it is what happens among mentalization, theory of mind and aesthetics of cognition (which is very interesting). It is possible that we can have a new vision integrated in how some acts and states can be linked to some atributions and perspectives in children, including at the same time some motivational aspects in this new, more comprehensive, vision.
What do you think?
Dear Henrik G.S. Arvidsson : bet wishes for your cat. We have two at 顺心彩票, and one of them had a similar accident two years ago.
2 Recommendations
12th Jul, 2020
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
Henrik G.S. Arvidsson institute of international business research.
Dear Nicolas..thanks..your cat is ok now? Here Im a full time nurse it seems..??
1 Recommendation
13th Jul, 2020
Nicolás Arias Velandia
Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano
They are ok. Thanks, Dr. Henrik G.S. Arvidsson
1 Recommendation
14th Jul, 2020
Margaret H. Freeman
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Dear Nicolás:
Yes, I think your distinction intriguing. I wonder what would constitute "new findings"? This is what I wrote about it in my field:
As a subcategory of aesthetic cognition, poetic cognition has the potential to provide a theory and methodology in establishing the nature of poetic effects and relating them to human cognitive processes. However, like all interdisciplinary endeavors that attempt transdisciplinarity in their applications, “where both disciplines are borrowing and lending” (Callies et al. 2011: 3), such research is still in its very early stages. Simon Penny (2017: 427-433) notes that interdisciplinarity is inherently unstable. It comes into existence as new world views begin to emerge, and moves toward the formation of a new discipline. It is characterized by the temporary adoption of terminology from concepts developed in various disciplines, terminology which inevitably loses the rigor of its original formulation as it embraces phenomena from environments different from those in which it was first employed. During this stage, meanings themselves become unstable, a condition which marks Penny’s (2014) first stage in the life history of a discipline:
1. the stage of half-formed vocabulary and vague promises;
2. the stage in which ideas from various fields are interfaced, and new relationships and distinctions are built, out of which, assiduously and incisively, a new vocabulary, reflective of a new world view, is built;
3. the stage when this vocabulary is deployed by members of the group in order to conduct sophisticated and dense discourse(s). In this stage the epistemological history of these terms is shared knowledge and the terms operate as shorthand;
4. these terms, rather than standing for a history of research and debate become reified, and, for instance, are written about in textbooks and taught, to a new generation of students who take these ideas as axiomatic ground-level realities. As a result, terminology so rigorously developed in 2+3 become like magical incantations full of presumed meaning;
5. the stage of paradigmatic failure, where problems arise which often appear to need, i.e., only technical or methodological tweaks, but as problems progress, turn out to be problems in principle. The explanatory power of the paradigm comes into question and interrogation, internal and external begins. Return to 1 and repeat.
Penny’s stages are not quite so rigidly defined as a discipline develops in actual practice, when traces characteristic of different stages may occur at the same time. Nevertheless, Penny’s stages are helpful in providing a rough outline of the life cycle of a discipline.
Apologies for the length. Margaret
4 Recommendations
20th Jul, 2020
Yasser Ahmed Alasbahi
King Khalid University
I think that the process of mentalization is a posterior part and parcel of the theory of mind and is based on the abstract part of the theory in which oneself can give judgement on others' behaviour or can predict of a possible one. However, the theory of mind is the essence or the main instinctive structure or foundation which physically and psychologically grows and develops according to the inputs of knowledge and the social environment interaction. Shortly, this is like acquiring a language, understanding the language and later on feeling how the other is going to express his attitudes, speech or needs and mentally behaving according to the new cognitive background of thinking. Also, the idea of mentalization is fundamentally based on psychological factors which support the way of judgement in reflecting the right decision.
2 Recommendations
22nd Jul, 2020
Dennis Nutter
Western Society of Pediatric Dentists
Theory of mind seems to be the operation of explicit memory whereas Mentalization is the operation of implicit memory. Our behaviors are a collaborative interplay of both.
2 Recommendations
22nd Jul, 2020
Nicolás Arias Velandia
Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano
I agree with you. What you said shows an important act of rigourous thinking. And you are right: there are not completely new ideas. I was talking about some research fields presented as "new", "promising", and "revealing", which usually become "in fashion". What I think about them is to examine and see where they come from and how they were formed in its original fields, in order to understand the better, like you are saying.
Thanks!
2 Recommendations
22nd Jul, 2020
Margaret H. Freeman
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts
Dear Nicolás:
I am currently reading Cowles’ the Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey. Nineteenth-century scientists and philosophers recognized the importance of subliminal -sensory-motor-emotive - processes in forming hypotheses, induction, deduction, etc. So the embodied cognition movement is actually resurrecting what got lost along the way.
2 Recommendations
22nd Jul, 2020
Joachim Lipski
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
are there any particular sources or reasons you base your claims regarding implicit/explicit memory on?
17th Aug, 2020
Luis A. Centeno-Gándara
Autonomous University of Nuevo León
Dear Dr. Henrick,
Mentalization has four different dimensions:
1) Controlled/reflective.
2) Affective/cognitive.
3) Internal/external.
4) Self/other.
It is thus, from my perspective, a broader concept than that of theory of mind (i.e., the capacity to recognize that others have their own mental states, without further specification).
You may be interested in this recent review:
All the best.
25th Aug, 2020
Johan Herholdt
Stellenbosch University
This may only be indirectly related to your question, but I found the work of Mark Solms on the the solution for the hard problem of consciousness very interesting because it highlights the primacy of the affective. See his 2019 ( ). See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7WF5gzPG1k if you prefer watching.
Can you contribute to the discussion?

Similar questions and discussions

How can we make academia more attractive? Is there an incongruence between academia and the real world?
Discussion
196 replies
  • Henrik G.S. ArvidssonHenrik G.S. Arvidsson
I often hear from friends negative things about academia, its boring, not connected to reality etc. I have been on and off in academia for 25 years but for the most part I have been in the real world, running businesses and working as a business consultant. I can still feel that in academia there is at least in my field a theoretical knowledge but still people doesn't understand how the real world operates. After university I felt like I knew everything, I knew Kotler backwards and forwards and all the theories..it felt like any way but when I started my first business (during my university years) I felt like I had to relearn everything. This lack of connection to reality was a problem for me and it is something I hear a lot for other business people. "Academics know nothing! ",one friend said and he has a Phd! Perhaps this illustrates the problem?
I guess it is the same in many fields..academia is seen as dry and not connected to the real world. What can be done about this or can anything be done? How do you view your education in relation to your working life? Do you feel your education was relevant? For me...not so much. Later I started to teach and do research but I still have this feeling. How do you feel about academia and the real world? Is academia part of the world we live in or just some "other place"..your thoughts?
Best wishes Henrik

Related Publications

Article
Full-text available
Objective: Metacognition is a multi-component psychological construct, characterized by the ability to identify and describe one's own mental states and those of others. Evidence has been found for an association between impairments in metacognitive abilities and poor social functioning, low quality of life, severity of psychopathology in Personali...
Article
Full-text available
Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interp...
Got a technical question?
Get high-quality answers from experts.