The neurochemical hypothesis of 'theory of mind'

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper aims to explore the neurochemical basis of the ability to represent one's own or other's mental states such as intentions, beliefs, wants and knowledge, an ability often referred to as 'theory of mind'. Based on neurochemical and psychopharmacological investigations in autism and schizophrenia, pathologies in which this ability is impaired, it is hypothesized that 'theory of mind' abilities are contingent on the integrity of the serotonergic and dopaminergic system. This hypothesis is discussed in light of the system's neurochemical properties and role in cognition. It is suggested that specific abnormalities to this system can account for differences in the profile of 'theory of mind' impairments that may exist among patients belonging to different pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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