This Element is an excerpt from Invisible Forces and Powerful Beliefs: Gravity, Gods, and Minds (9780137075454) by the Chicago Social Brain Network. Available in print and digital formats.
How do people understand others’ minds…God’s, yours, anyone’s?
Shortly after taking off from LaGuardia, the engines of US Airways Flight 1549 failed. The pilots glided onto the Hudson River, where all the passengers were rescued. Explained one passenger, “God was certainly looking out for us.” To psychologists, such statements reveal one of the social brain’s most impressive capacities--the ability to “see” what other minds see.