Animacy and ToM

Contributor: Lifeng Fan

Reading list

survey/review/perspective paper Encyclopedia book chapter

Required - Animacy

Required - Theory of Mind (ToM)

Optional - Psychological and Phylosophical Studies on Animacy

Optional - Animacy Modeling

Optional - Philosophical Studies on ToM

Optional - False Belief

Optional - ToM in Robotics

Optional - ToM in Games

Optional - Joint Attention

Optional - Joint Goals and Commitments


  1. What do you think are the most important factors that drive human’s perception of animacy? Is it a bottom-up, or a top-down process, or both? Can a purely data-driven model solve the problem? Why?
  2. There have been many debates over Theory of Mind for a long time, such as the mind modularity problem, the mind body problem. Pick a debate that you are most interested in, and give your own arguments for it.
  3. Many studies model mind inference between agents in a recursive way. However, obviously we humans don’t do that infinitely recursive mind inference in practice. What’s the problem with the recursive modeling? What do you think might be a better model for the underlying mental mechanism? How do we humans build common mind during interaction?
  4. Can humans build a human brain? What’s the biggest problem and hardest challenges now? Show your opinion and analysis.