How we understand others

IMAGE: Anne Böckler, junior professor at the University of Würzburg’s Institute of Psychology view more Imagine your best friend tells you that his girlfriend has just proposed “staying friends”. Now you have to accomplish two things: Firstly, you have to grasp that this nice sounding proposition actually means that she wants to break up with him and secondly, you should feel with your friend and comfort him. Whether empathy and understanding other people’s mental states (mentalising) — i.e. the ability to understand what others know, plan and want — are interrelated has recently been examined by the psychologists Anne Böckler, Philipp Kanske, Mathis Trautwein, Franca Parianen-Lesemann and Tania Singer. The publication Anne Böckler has been a junior professor at the University of Würzburg’s Institute of Psychology since October 2015. Previously, the…


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