Social Neuroscience: People Thinking About Thinking People

Social neuroscience uses the methodologies and tools developed to measure mental and brain function to study social cognition, emotion, and behavior. In this collection, John Cacioppo, Penny Visser, and Cynthia Pickett have brought together contributions from psychologists, neurobiologists, psychiatrists, radiologists, and neurologists that focus on the neurobiological underpinnings of social information processing, particularly the mechanisms underlying "people thinking about thinking people." In these studies, such methods as functional brain imaging, studies of brain lesion patients, comparative analyses, and developmental data are brought to bear on social thinking and feeling systems—the ways in which human beings influence and are influenced by other humans. The broad range of disciplines represented by the contributors confirms that among the strengths of social neuroscience are its interdisciplinary approach and the use of multiple methods that bridge disciplines and levels of analysis.

Social neuroscience has yielded insights into such aspects of social behavior as social regulation, social rejection, impression formation, self-awareness, and attitudes regarding social groups. The studies in Social Neuroscience examine topics including the neural substrates of self-awareness and social cognition, theory of mind, cortical mechanisms of language processing, stereotyping, prejudice and race, and the special quality of social cognition.