Social neuroscience

Social neuroscience

Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that utilizes the complementary insights and approaches of neuroscience and social science to analyze social and affective aspects of human behavior. An emerging field, it is closely related to affective neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, focusing on how the brain mediates social interactions.


Social neuroscience investigates the "biological mechanisms" that underlie social processes and behavior, widely considered one of the major problem areas for the neurosciences in the 21st century, and applies concepts and methods of biology to develop "theories" of social processes and behavior in the social and behavioral sciences.

Throughout most of the 20th century, social and biological explanations were widely viewed as incompatible. But advances in recent years have led to the development of a new approach synthesized from the social and biological sciences. The new field of social neuroscience emphasizes the complementary relationship between the different levels of organization spanning the social and biological domains (e.g., molecular, cellular, system, person, relational, collective, societal) and the use of multi-level analyses to foster understanding of the mechanisms underlying the human mind and behavior.

A variety of techniques are used in social neuroscience to investigate the confluence of neural and social processes, including Functional MRI, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Event-related potentials, Electrocardiograms, Electromyograms, Galvanic skin response, and studies of Focal Brain Lesion patients.

ee also

* Cognitive neuropsychology
* Affective neuroscience
* Motor cognition
* Emotion
* Social cognition
* Social psychology

ocial Neuroscience Journals

* [ Social Neuroscience] New journal, inaugural issue published March 2006

* [ Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience] New journal, inaugural issue published June 2006

*The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) published a [ special section on Social Neuroscience] in the October 2003 issue.

* [ The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience] publishes occasional articles on Affective and Social Neuroscience, including a [ special issue on Social Neuroscience] in December 2004.

* [ NeuroImage] published a [ Special Section on Social Cognitive Neuroscience] in the December 2005 issue.

* [ Psychophysiology] has published several articles dealing with Social Neuroscience.


* Cacioppo, J.T. (2002). "Social neuroscience: Understanding the pieces fosters understanding the whole and vice versa." American Psychologist, 57, 819-831.
* Cacioppo, J.T., Berntson, G.G., Sheridan, J.F., & McClintock, M.K. (2000). "Multilevel integrative analyses of human behavior: social neuroscience and the complementing nature of social and biological approaches." Psychological Bulletin, 126, 829-843.

*cite book |last=Cacioppo|first=John T.|coauthors=Gary G. Berntson|title= [ Social Neuroscience: Key Readings,] | year=2004 | publisher= [ Psychology Press] | id=ISBN 978-1-84169-099-5

*cite book |last=Cacioppo|first=John T.|coauthors=Penny S. Visser, Cynthia L. Pickett (eds.)|title=Social Neuroscience: People Thinking about Thinking People | year=2005 | publisher=MIT Press | id=ISBN 0-262-03335-6

*cite book | last=Harmon-Jones|first=E.|coauthors=P. Winkielman|title=Social Neuroscience: Integrating Biological and Psychological Explanations of Social Behavior | year=2007| publisher=Guilford Press | id=ISBN 978-1-59385-404-1

*cite book | last=Restak|first=Richard|title=The Naked Brain | year=2006
* van Lange, P.A.M. (2006). "Bridging Social Psychology: Benefits of Transdisciplinary Approaches." Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

* Wolpert, D. & Frith, C. (2004). "The Neuroscience of Social Interactions: Decoding, Influencing, and Imitating the Actions of Others." Oxford: Oxford University Press.

External links

* [ University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience]

* [ "What is social neuroscience?"] Introduction from the first issue (March 2006) of the journal [ Social Neuroscience] defining social neuroscience, listing the tools of social neuroscience, and addressing the impact of social neuroscience.

* [ "How the emotional parts of our brains can be manipulated."] Web-only article in "Newsweek" online.

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