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An agent-based model for false belief tasks: Belief Representation Systematic Approach (BRSA)

Yousefi, Zahrieh; Heinke, Dietmar; Apperly, Ian; Siebers, Peer-Olaf


Zahrieh Yousefi

Dietmar Heinke

Ian Apperly


A meaningful social life relies on understanding others’ minds and behaviours. The ability to reason about an individual’s mental states such as beliefs and desires, and to understand and predict how these mental states shape an individual’s behaviour is called theory of mind (ToM). In order to examine an individual’s ToM ability, false belief tasks have been used widely in the literature.

This research is a novel attempt to clarify the basic cognitive processes shared across the different varieties of false belief tasks. For this purpose, an agent-based model has been implemented to evaluate how agents’ achievement of goals in a social context is dependent on the ability to understand others’ beliefs.

In our study, we offer a methodological framework for many belief-reasoning tasks called Belief Representation Systematic Approach (BRSA). BRSA is a simple and robust approach that breaks down false belief tasks into four fundamental cognitive phases, including Perception, Memory, Reasoning beliefs and desires, and Expressing others’ beliefs and desires in an action. BRSA identifies a network of indispensable resources for belief representation. It also clarifies that there is a difference between ‘understanding’ others’ beliefs and ‘using’ that understanding. BRSA demonstrates that false belief tasks, as a common decisive methodology for theory of mind competence, might involve more than understanding others’ beliefs. Moreover, the model demonstrates that agents’ understanding of others’ beliefs on the micro level will lead to significant improvements in their performances on the macro level.

Conference Name 2018 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (SBP-BRiMS 2018)
Start Date Jul 10, 2018
End Date Jul 13, 2018
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2018
Publication Date Jun 14, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2019
Publisher Springer
Pages 111-126
Series Title Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Series Number 10899
Book Title Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling. SBP-BRiMS 2018
ISBN 9783319933719
Public URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Yousefi Z., Heinke D., Apperly I., Siebers PO. (2018) An Agent-Based Model for False Belief Tasks: Belief Representation Systematic Approach (BRSA). In: Thomson R., Dancy C., Hyder A., Bisgin H. (eds) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling. SBP-BRiMS 2018. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10899. Springer, Cham