Common knowledge, coordination, and strategic mentalizing in social life
My collaborators and I have investigated how representations of knowledge -- including shared knowledge (e.g., you know X, I know that you know X), and common knowledge (you know X, I know that you know X, you know that I know that you know X, ad infinitum) -- affect diverse social phenomena such as the bystander effect and perceptions of charitability. We propose that -- rather than being represented as an explicit, multiply nested proposition -- common knowledge may be a distinctive cognitive state, corresponding to the sense that something is public or "out there".
De Freitas, J., Thomas, K. A., DeScioli, P., & Pinker, S. (2019) Common knowledge, coordination, and strategic mentalizing in human social life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. **Review**
De Freitas, J.*, Thomas, K. A.*, DeScioli, P., & Pinker, S. (2016) Recursive mentalizing and common knowledge in the bystander effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(5), 621–629.
De Freitas, J., DeScioli, P., Thomas, K. A., & Pinker, S. (2018). Maimonides' Ladder: States of mutual knowledge and the perception of charitability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
DeScioli, P., Karpoff, R., & De Freitas, J. (2017). Ownership dilemmas: The case of finders versus landowners. Cognitive Science, 41(S3), 502–522.