The first chapter states that flexible social cognition—having the ability to engage and not engage in mental state inferences with others—perhaps explains why people are capable of pro and anti-social behaviour. It introduces a classical equation for social behaviour, before suggesting an edit that equation that accounts for social cognition. It then suggests a metaphor to explain how social cognition might be engaged based on the social context. Next, it defines the key terms for the argument surrounding flexible social cognition: flexible and mental state inference as the most fundamental form of social cognition. It reconciles differences in the use of various psychological jargon for various types of social cognition, then defines social groups, explaining their importance to the general theory.
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