A&S Researcher of the Month: J. Robert Thompson

J. Robert Thompson

J. Robert Thompson serves the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State University as an associate professor of philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. He arrived at MSU in 2008, and since then, has become a key player in the department and the college.

Thompson is currently serving as the secretary for the Southern Society of Philosophy and Psychology, and his research focuses on the way humans look to understand one another’s thoughts and actions and how that understanding affects our communication abilities. His research has always found a way to cross disciplines such as psychology and linguistics with a touch of neuroscience.

Thompson has had two papers published over the past 18 months in two of the top journals worldwide. These two journals, Mind & Language and Cognitive Science, have an acceptance rate for paper submissions at about five percent.

“Meaning and Mindreading,” published in Mind & Language, analyzes both conceptual arguments in philosophy and empirical data from developmental psychology in defense of his conclusion that even young children have complex mindreading abilities that allow them to communicate in intricate ways beyond what we originally thought.

Published in Cognitive Science, “Signature Limits in Mindreading Systems” critiques a specific proposal about these mindreading abilities that has been offered by psychologists, showing that the timeline of development suggested in that proposal is at odds with the most cutting-edge research on infant mindreading abilities.

Thompson has also had publications featured in Synthese: An International Journal for Epistemology, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, and he has presented several of his works at American Philosophical Association, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology meetings as well as this past summer’s The Future of Social Cognition conference held in Bochum, Germany.

MSU is online at www.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.

Editor's note: The Arts & Sciences Researcher of the Month is provided by the College of Arts and Sciences at MSU. For additional information, please see www.cas.msstate.edu/research or contact Karyn Brown at kbrown@deanas.msstate.edu or 662-325-7952.

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