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Minds in the wild: conceptualizing and attributing the mental among Mongolians


"The term “mind” is as much an everyday word in English language as it is a technical term widely used across various sub-disciplines in the cognitive sciences. And it is not uncommon to see the English-based understanding of mind as representing a universal category of human thought. No doubt, our basic ability to understand various mental states that we attribute to others and to ourselves is crucial for our social life. This has been acknowledged by the Theory of Mind (ToM) research tradition, and more recently by mind perception research. Still, the English term ""mind"" has remained a starting conceptual point for studying the folk theory of mind as universal. This state of affairs is problematic since there is little systematic non-English cross-cultural data about the very concept of “mind” or how the mental sphere is categorized and organized. This is especially noteworthy given the fact that many languages do not even have an equivalent lexical expression of English “mind”– it might as well be a culture-specific concept, infused with specific semantic connotations. Thus, this project will (1) bring a richer cultural perspective to the study of the folk concept of mind by investigating in-depth Mongolian cultural model of mind and comparing it to the dominant English-language based model of mind; and will (2) investigate how Mongolians attribute minds to human and non-human agents. Finally, the project will (3) develop a framework to connect “culture” as cultural models (of mind) with the postulated universal cognitive features of folk theory of mind."


Net EU contribution
€ 230 774,40
Nordre Ringgade 1
8000 Aarhus C

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Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data