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The neural bases of social cognition and story comprehension
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Annual review of psychology (2011)

A great deal of research exists on the neural basis of theory-of-mind (ToM) or mentalizing. Qualitative reviews on this topic have identified a mentalizing network composed of the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate/precuneus, and bilateral temporal parietal junction. These conclusions, however, are not based on a quantitative and systematic approach. The current review presents a quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies pertaining to ToM, using the activation-likelihood estimation (ALE) approach. Separate ALE meta-analyses are presented for story-based and nonstory-based studies of ToM. The conjunction of these two meta-analyses reveals a core mentalizing network that includes areas not typically noted by previous reviews. A third ALE meta-analysis was conducted with respect to story comprehension in order to examine the relation between ToM and stories. Story processing overlapped with many regions of the core mentalizing network, and these shared regions bear some resemblance to a network implicated by a number of other processes.
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