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Social neuroscience

Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding how John Cacioppo and Gary Berntson, published in the American Psychologist in 1992.[1] Cacioppo and Berntson are considered as the legitimate fathers of social neuroscience. Still a young field, social neuroscience is closely related to affective neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, focusing on how the brain mediates social interactions.[2]


  • Overview 1
  • Methods 2
  • Society for social neuroscience 3
  • See also 4
  • Journals 5
    • Sections 5.1
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8



  • Society for Social Neuroscience.
  • New Society for Social Neuroscience to help guide emerging field from the University of Chicago News Office.
  • 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.

External links

  • Brune, M., Ribbert, H., & Schiefenhovel, W. (2003). The social brain: evolution and pathology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  • 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. (1992). "Social psychological contributions to the decade of the brain: Doctrine of multilevel analysis". American Psychologist 47: 1019–1028.  
  • 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.  
  • Cacioppo, John T.; Gary G. Berntson (2004). Social Neuroscience: Key Readings,. Psychology Press. .  
  • Cacioppo, John T.; Penny S. Visser, Cynthia L. Pickett (eds.) (2005). Social Neuroscience: People Thinking about Thinking People. .  
  • Cozolino, L. (2006). The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment And the Developing Social Brain. W. W. Norton & Company.
  • de Haan, M., & Gunnar, M.R. (2009). Handbook of Developmental Social Neuroscience. The Guilford Press.
  • Decety, J., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2011). Handbook of Social Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Decety, J., & Ickes, W. (2009). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge: MIT press.
  • Emery, N.J. (2007). Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behavior. Taylor & Francis.
  • Harmon-Jones, E.; P. Winkielman (2007). Social Neuroscience: Integrating Biological and Psychological Explanations of Social Behavior. .  
  • van Lange, P.A.M. (2006). Bridging social psychology: benefits of transdisciplinary Approaches. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Ward, J. (2012). The Student's Guide to Social Neuroscience. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Wolpert, D. & Frith, C. (2004). The Neuroscience of Social Interactions: Decoding, Influencing, and Imitating the Actions of Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further reading

  1. ^ Cacioppo J. T., Berntson G. G. (1992). "Social psychological contributions to the decade of the brain: Doctrine of multilevel analysis". American Psychologist 47: 1019–1028.  
  2. ^ Cacioppo J. T., Berntson G. G., Decety J. (2010). "Social neuroscience and its relation to social psychology". Social Cognition 28: 675–684.  
  3. ^ Cacioppo, J. T., Berntson, G. G., & Decety, J. (2011). A history of social neuroscience. In A. W. Kruglanski and W. Stroebe (Eds.), Handbook of the History of Social Psychology. New York: Psychology Press.
  4. ^ Cacioppo J.T.; et al. (2007). "Social neuroscience: progress and implications for mental health". Perspectives on Psychological Science 2: 99–123. 
  5. ^ Cacioppo J. T., Decety J. (2011). "Social neuroscience: challenges and opportunities in the study of complex behavior". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 
  6. ^ Adolphs R (2003). "Investigating the cognitive neuroscience of social behavior". Neuropsychologia 41: 119–126.  
  7. ^ Cacioppo, J.T., & Berntson, G.G. (2009), Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Science. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  8. ^ Harmon-Jones, E., & Beer, J.S. (2009). Methods in Social Neuroscience. New York: The Guilford Press
  9. ^ Ward, J. (2012). The Student's Guide to Social Neuroscience. New York: Psychology Press
  10. ^ de Haan, M., & Gunnar, M.R. (2009). Handbook of Developmental Social Neuroscience. The Guilford Press.
  11. ^ Decety J., Cacioppo T.T. (2010). "Frontiers in human neuroscience, the golden triangle, and beyond". Perspectives on Psychological Science 5 (6): 767–771.  
  12. ^ Ward, J. (2012). The Student's Guide to Social Neuroscience. New York: Psychology Press
  13. ^ Greenwald A. G., McGhee D. E., Schwartz J. L. K. (1998). "Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74: 1464–1480.  
  14. ^ Ward, J. (2012). The Student's Guide to Social Neuroscience. New York: Psychology Press
  15. ^ Ward, J. (2012). The Student's Guide to Social Neuroscience. New York: Psychology Press


  • JPSP published a special section in 2003.
  • Neuropsychologia published a special issue in 2003.
  • NeuroImage published a Special Section on Social Cognitive Neuroscience in the December 2005 issue.
  • Psychophysiology has published several articles dealing with Social Neuroscience.



See also

A dinner to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the interdisciplinary field of social neuroscience at the Auckland, New Zealand on 20 January 2010, and the inaugural meeting for the Society was held on November 12, 2010, the day prior to the 2010 Society for Neuroscience meeting (San Diego, CA).

Society for social neuroscience

Neurobiological methods can be grouped together into ones that measure more external bodily responses, electrophysiological methods, hemodynamic measures, and lesion methods. Bodily response methods include GSR (also known as skin conductance response (SCR)), facial EMG, and the eyeblink startle response. Electrophysiological methods include single-cell recordings, EEG, and ERPs. Hemodynamic measures, which, instead of directly measuring neural activity, measure changes in blood flow, include PET and fMRI. Lesion methods traditionally study brains that have been damaged via natural causes, such as strokes, traumatic injuries, tumors, neurosurgery, infection, or neurodegenerative disorders. In its ability to create a type of 'virtual lesion' that is temporary, TMS may also be included in this category.[15]

Primarily psychological methods include performance-based measures that record response time and/or accuracy,[12] such as the Implicit Association Test;[13] observational measures such as preferential looking in infant studies; and, self-report measures, such as questionnaire and interviews.[14]

A number of methods are used in social neuroscience to investigate the confluence of neural and social processes. These methods draw from behavioral techniques developed in social psychology, cognitive psychology, and neuropsychology, and are associated with a variety of neurobiological techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), positron emission tomography (PET), facial electromyography (EMG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERPs), electrocardiograms, electromyograms, endocrinology, immunology, galvanic skin response (GSR), single-cell recording, and studies of focal brain lesion patients.[6][7][8][9] Animal models are also important to investigate the putative role of specific brain structures, circuits, or processes (e.g., the reward system and drug addiction). In addition, quantitative meta-analyses are important to move beyond idiosyncrasies of individual studies, and neurodevelopmental investigations can contribute to our understanding of brain-behavior associations.[10][11]


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.


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