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Starting points...

"Let me see if I understand your thesis. You think we shouldn't anthropomorphize people?"
- Sidney Morgenbesser to B. F. Skinner

"The notion that one can capture some aspect of reality by making a description of it using a symbol and that to do so can be useful seems to me a fascinating and powerful idea."
- David Marr

Mentalism and computationalism...two pretty good ideas.
Some other good ideas here


Broad interests: cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, informed by evolutionary, developmental, and cultural approaches; even more broadly, computational science

Research interests: theory of mind and social attention; foundations of cognitive science

Methods: reaction time, eye tracking, functional imaging

Participants: Infants and preschoolers to study evolved developmental programs; people from different cultures to understand interactions between the brain and the socio-cultural environment; clinical populations to understand impairments in neurocomputational mechanisms underlying developmental disorders like autism; and of course, I collect a lot of data on "WEIRD" people


Cho, I. & Cohen, A.S. (2019). Explaining age-related decline in theory of mind: Evidence for intact competence but compromised executive function. PLoS ONE, 14(9), 1-10.
[pdf], [Preregistration, materials, data, and analyses]
Barlev, M., Mermelstein, S., Cohen, A.S., & German, T.C. (2019). The Embodied God: Core Intuitions About Person Physicality Coexist and Interfere With Acquired Christian Beliefs About God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus. Cognitive Science, 43, e12784.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses], [Preregistration for Experiment 2], [Supplementary Information]
Sasaki, J.Y. & Cohen, A.S. (2019). Explaining agency detection within a domain-specific, culturally attuned model. Religion, Brain, & Behavior, 9, 94-96.
[pdf], [target article]
Cohen, A.S., Sasaki, J.Y., German, T.C., & Kim, H.S. (2017). Automatic mechanisms for social attention are culturally penetrable. Cognitive Science, 41, 242-258.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses]
Cohen, A.S., Sasaki, J.Y., & German, T.C. (2015). Specialized mechanisms for theory of mind: Are mental representations special because they are mental or because they are representations? Cognition, 136, 49-63.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses]
German, T.C. & Cohen, A.S. (2012). A cue-based approach to 'theory of mind': Re-examining the notion of automaticity. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30, 45-58.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses]
Cohen, A.S. & German, T.C. (2010). Reaction time advantages for calculating beliefs over public representations signal domain specificity for 'theory of mind'. Cognition, 115, 417-425.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses]
Cohen, A.S. & German, T.C. (2009). Encoding of others' beliefs without overt instruction. Cognition, 111, 356-363.
[pdf], [Materials, data, and analyses]
Lee, K., Yoshida, T., Kubicki, M., Bouix, S., Westin, C., Kindlmann, G., Niznikiewicz, M., Cohen, A., McCarley, R.W., & Shenton, M.E. (2009). Increased diffusivity in superior temporal gyrus in patients with schizophrenia: A diffusion tensor imaging study. Schizophrenia Research, 108, 33-40. [pdf]
Nakamura, M., Nestor, P.G., Levitt, J.J., Cohen, A.S., Kawashima, T., Shenton, M.E., McCarley, R.W. (2008). Orbitofrontal volume deficit in schizophrenia and thought disorder. Brain, 131, 180-195. [pdf]
Han, S.D., Nestor, P.G., Hale-Spencer, M., Cohen, A.S., Niznikiewicz, M., McCarley, R.W., & Wible, C.G. (2007). Functional imaging of word priming in males with chronic schizophrenia. Neuroimage, 35, 273-282. [pdf]
Leslie, A.M., Knobe, J., & Cohen, A. (2006). Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: 'Theory of mind' and moral judgment. Psychological Science, 17, 421-427. [pdf]