Thinking of mental and other representations: the roles of left and right temporo-parietal junction

Soc Neurosci. 2006;1(3-4):245-58. doi: 10.1080/17470910600989896.


Adopting new versions of the false belief and "false" photo vignettes used by Saxe & Kanwisher (2003) we were able to show activation in all five areas previously reported. Activations by added false sign and temporal change control vignettes in these areas showed that the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ-R) is specifically associated with processing mental states like belief. In contrast, TPJ-L was also activated by false signs suggesting an association with processing perspective differences for mental and non-mental objects in line with work on visual perspective tasks. A similar, but less clearly interpretable pattern of activations was also found in the middle temporal gyrus, precuneus and in the MPFC. These results are discussed in relation to findings in normal development where false belief and false sign tasks associate more strongly with each other than does each of them with the "false" photo task.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Thinking / physiology*