Direct perception in the intersubjective context

Shaun Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

338 Citations (Scopus)


This paper, in opposition to the standard theories of social cognition found in psychology and cognitive science, defends the idea that direct perception plays an important role in social cognition. The two dominant theories, theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST), both posit something more than a perceptual element as necessary for our ability to understand others, i.e., to "mindread" or "mentalize." In contrast, certain phenomenological approaches depend heavily on the concept of perception and the idea that we have a direct perceptual grasp of the other person's intentions, feelings, etc. This paper explains precisely what the notion of direct perception means, offers evidence from developmental studies, and proposes a non-simulationist interpretation of the neuroscience of mirror systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-43
Number of pages9
JournalConsciousness and cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Cognition
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neurons
  • Perception
  • Social Behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct perception in the intersubjective context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this