Cognition. Volume 130, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 128–133
Recent findings suggest that tracking others’ beliefs is not always effortful and slow, but may rely on a fast and implicit system. An untested prediction of the automatic belief tracking account is that own and others’ beliefs should be activated in parallel. We tested this prediction measuring continuous movement trajectories in a task that required deciding between two possible object locations. We independently manipulated whether participants’ belief about the object location was true or false and whether an onlooker’s belief about the object location was true or false. Manipulating whether or not the agent’s belief was ever task relevant allowed us to compare performance in an explicit and implicit version of the same task. Movement parameters revealed an influence of the onlooker’s irrelevant belief in the implicit version of the task. This provides evidence for parallel activation of own and others’ beliefs.