Character and Culture in Social Cognition

  • James Lloyd

Student thesis: Phd


We make character trait attributions to predict and explain others’ behaviour. How should we understand character trait attribution in context across the domains of philosophy, folk psychology, developmental psychology, and evolutionary psychology? For example, how does trait attribution relate to our ability to attribute mental states to others, to ‘mindread’? This thesis uses philosophical methods and empirical data to argue for character trait attribution as a practice dependent upon our ability to mindread, which develops as a product of natural selection acting on culture instead of genes. This analysis carves out trait attribution’s distinct place within an emerging complex and mature scholarship on pluralistic social cognition.
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMichael Scott (Supervisor) & Joel Smith (Supervisor)


  • cognitive science
  • mindreading
  • philosophy of psychology
  • social cognition
  • character traits

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