Essays in Social Neuroscience

This collection of essays by a group of distinguished social neuroscientists provides the reader with an engaging overview of this emerging multidisciplinary and collaborative field. In the 20th century, the arbitrary barrier between neuroscience and social psychology was reinforced by the specialized knowledge required by each field and an emphasis on scientific work in isolation from other disciplines; the biological and social perspectives on mind and behavior developed for the most part independently of each other. Neuroscientists often considered social factors irrelevant or minimally important, while cognitive and social scientists tended to ignore biological constraints and mechanisms as leading to what they mistakenly thought of as reductionism. By the end of the 20th century, however, as those working in both fields were spurred by the common goal of understanding how the mind works, systematic collaborations between neuroscientists and cognitive scientists had begun. These collaborative efforts have already helped unravel aspects of perception, imagery, attention, and memory.

These essays—by leaders in the field—reflect the range of disciplines engaged and questions addressed today in social neuroscience. Topics include maternal effects and chromatin modeling; "Oxytocin and the prairie vole: a love story"; pheromones, social odors, and the unconscious; and memory.

 

Foundations in Social Neuroscience

A full understanding of the biology and behavior of humans cannot be complete without the collective contributions of the social sciences, cognitive sciences, and neurosciences. This book collects 82 of the foundational articles in the emerging discipline of social neuroscience.

The book addresses five main areas of research: multilevel integrative analyses of social behavior, using the tools of neuroscience, cognitive science, and social science to examine specific cases of social interaction; the relationships between social cognition and the brain, using noninvasive brain imaging to document brain function in various social situations; rudimentary biological mechanisms for motivation, emotion, and attitudes, and the shaping of these mechanisms by social factors; the biology of social relationships and interpersonal processes; and social influences on biology and health.

Principles of Psychophysiology: Physical, Social and Inferential Elements

Despite important developments in psychophysiology, no single book has reviewed the subject at a level that is informative to the specialist yet accessible to the interested nonspecialist. Principles of Psychophysiology is designed to fill this gap. Leading scientists review the foundations and recent advances in our understanding of psychophysiological responses and recording techniques—electrodermal, electromyographic, electrocortical, event-related brain potential, cardiovascular, electro-ocular, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and sexual, and examine the applications of this behavior.

The editors provide a comprehensive overview of fundamental issues involved in inferring psychological processes and states from physiological data. They review neurophysiological, psychoneuroendocrinological, and psychoneuroimmunological foundations of psychophysiology, and psychophysiological concepts and principles. Finally, they offer detailed tutorials on each psychophysiological system and response, and assess general analytic procedures across systems. A wide range of behavioural scientists, specialists in behavioural medicine, and their students will find this an indispensable sourcebook and guide.

 

Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change

Within the field of social psychology, the experimental approach to attitude change exploded out of the starting blocks after World War I1 with great enthusiasm, considerable funding, and a number of highly productive and energetic researchers, under the leadership of Carl Hovland, Leon Festinger, Irving Janis, and their colleagues. It rapidly generated masses of empirical evidence and a wide variety of competing theories. Later reviews by William McGuire and others revealed more complexity in the empirical results than had earlier been anticipated. Available theories tended to speak to somewhat different domains of empirical studies, and so gave less help than might be expected in organizing this complexity. In the 1970s and 1980s, many once-active areas of attitude change research fell into the doldrums. 

New paradigms and interests, such as attribution theory and social cognition, took over experimental social psychology. These gave some promise of systematizing empirical results with more basic, overarching theoretical predictions, but tended more often to focus on other phenomena altogether, such as person perception, person memory, or self-perception. Like the ancient city of Troy, socialpsychology 
seemed on the way to layering one successive generation of research on top of another, the inhabitants of each oblivious to its predecessors. 
In this last decade several researchers have kept the flame of attitude change research alive, most notably Richard Petty and John Cacioppo. 
They have in this volume produced a well-organized, systematic presentation of their work, and it is certainly one of the most important books on experimental studies of attitudes in the past two decades. 

 


 

Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches

This classic text surveys a number of different theoretical approaches to the related phenomena of attitude and belief change. These theories are grouped into seven major approaches, each presented and evaluated in a separate chapter. Each contributes in an important way to a complete understanding of the persuasion process. Appropriate for both upper level undergraduates and graduates in the social sciences.