Social Neuroscience: Toward Understanding the Underpinnings of the Social Mind

ISBN : 9780199361052

Alexander Todorov; Susan T. Fiske; Deborah A. Prentice
336 Pages
181 x 255 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
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The field of social cognitive neuroscience has captured the attention of many researchers during the past ten years. Much of the impetus for this new field came from the development of functional neuroimaging methods that made it possible to unobtrusively measure brain activation over time. Using these methods over the last 30 years has allowed psychologists to move from simple validation questions - would flashing stimuli activate the visual cortex - to those about the functional specialization of brain regions - are there regions in the inferior temporal cortex dedicated to face processing - to questions that, just a decade ago, would have been considered intractable at such a level of analysis. These so-called "intractable" questions are the focus of the chapters in this book, which introduces social cognitive neuroscience research addressing questions of fundamental importance to social psychology: How do we understand and represent other people? How do we represent social groups? How do we regulate our emotions and socially undesirable responses? This book also presents innovative combinations of multiple methodologies, including behavioral experiments, computer modeling, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) experiments, Event-Related Potential (ERP) experiments, and brain lesion studies. It is divided into four sections. The first three sections present the latest research on, respectively, understanding and representing other people, representing social groups, and the interplay of cognition and emotion in social regulation. In the fourth section, contributors step back and consider a range of novel topics that have emerged in the context of social neuroscience research: understanding social exclusion as pain, deconstructing our moral intuitions, understanding cooperative exchanges with other agents, and the effect of aging on brain function and its implications for well-being. Taken together, these chapters provide a rich introduction to an exciting, rapidly developing and expanding field that promises a richer and deeper understanding of the social mind.


- A. Todorov, S. T. Fiske, and D. Prentice
I. Understanding and representing other people
1. How has cognitive neuroscience contributed to social psychological theory?
- Adrianna C. Jenkins & Jason P. Mitchell (Harvard University)
2. You, me, and my brain: Self and other representations in social cognitive neuroscience
- Jamil Zaki and Kevin Ochsner (Columbia University)
3. Distributed processes for retrieval of person knowledge
- M. Ida Gobbini (University of Bologna, Italy)
4. Evaluating faces on social dimensions
- Alexander Todorov (Princeton University)
5. Commentary: Social neuroscience and the representation of others
- James V. Haxby (Princeton University)
II. Understanding and representing social groups
6. Perceiving social category information from faces: Using ERPs to study person perception
- Tiffany A. Ito (University of Colorado, Boulder)
7. Multiple mechanisms for regulating of intergroup bias: Contributions from social neuroscience
- David M. Amodio (New York University)
8. Perceiving humanity
- Lasana T. Harris and Susan Fiske (Princeton University)
9. Commentary: Us versus them: The social neuroscience of perceiving outgroups
- Nalini Ambady & Reginald Adams(Tufts University)
III. Regulation of social behavior
10. Self-regulation and evaluative processing
- Dominic J. Packer, Amanda Kesek (University of Toronto) & William A. Cunningham (The Ohio State University)
11. The neural basis of emotional decision-making
- Jennifer S. Beer & Jamil P. Bhanji (University of California, Davis)
12. Social neuroscience of asymmetrical frontal cortical activity: Considering anger and approach motivation
- Eddie Harmon-Jones & Cindy Harmon-Jones (Texas A&M University)
13. Why symbolic processing of affect can disrupt negative affect: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience investigations
- Matthew D. Lieberman (University of California, Los Angeles)
14. Commentary: Emotion in social neuroscience
- Liz Phelps (New York University)
IV. Navigating social life
15. The social brain in interactive games
- James Rilling (Emory University)
16. Social pain: Experiential, neurocognitive, and genetic correlates
- Naomi I. Eisenberger (University of California, Los Angeles)
17. Could an aging brain contribute to subjective well-being?: The value added by a social neuroscience perspective
- John T. Cacioppo, Gary G. Berntson, Antoine Bechara, Daniel Tranel, Hanna Damasio & Louise C. Hawkley
18. Social neuroscience and the soul's last stand
- Joshua D. Greene (Harvard University)
19. Commentary: Building a social brain
General commentary: Hanging with social neuroscientists
- Marcia Johnson (Yale University)

About the author: 

Alexander Todorov, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs in the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. Susan T. Fiske, PhD, is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology at Princeton University. Deborah Prentice, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Department Chair of Psychology at Princeton University.

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