Between prudence and paranoia: Theory of Mind gone right, and wrong

Published: 20 Jun 2023, Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023ToM 2023EveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: Theory of Mind, ToM, Paranoia, Cognitive hierarchy, mixed motive, IPOMDP, Planning, Deception
Abstract: Agents need to be on their toes when interacting with competitive others to avoid being duped. Too much vigilance out of context can, however, be detrimental and produce paranoia. Here, we offer a formal account of this phenomenon through the lens of theory of mind. We simulate agents of different depths of mentalization and show how, if aligned well, deep recursive mentalisation gives rise to both successful deception as well as reasonable skepticism. However, we also show how, if theory of mind is too sophisticated, agents become paranoid, losing trust and reward in the process. We discuss our findings in light of computational psychiatry and AI safety.
Supplementary Material: pdf
Submission Number: 12