The Neuroscience of Persuasion and Information Propagation

The Key Role of the Mentalizing System

Authored by: Elisa C. Baek , Christin Scholz , Emily B. Falk

The Handbook of Communication Science and Biology

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815376712
eBook ISBN: 9781351235587
Adobe ISBN:


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What are the psychological and neural processes that support successful information propagation between communicators and receivers? This chapter draws upon recent contributions from neuroscience to focus on the role of mentalizing, or considering other people’s mental states, as one factor that leads to successful social influence and information propagation. Across different contexts, messages that lead to information propagation are distinguished by higher levels of mentalizing in both communicators and receivers of influence. The chapter also highlights developmental, cultural, and social network factors that moderate the relationship between mentalizing and influence.

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