How to make social neuroscience social

Christian Keysers, Lawrie McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Social neuroscience has had a boost over the last two decades. There have been a number of dominant themes in the course of this research, two of which are (a) the identification of systems involved in attributing beliefs, true or false, to others (e.g., Amodio & Frith, 2006; Ochsner et al., 2004;Saxe, Carey, & Kanwisher, 2004) and (b) the discovery that brain regions involved in our own actions, emotions, and sensations are recruited while we witness those of others (e.g., Iacoboni, 2009; Keysers & Gazzola, 2006; Keysers & Gazzola, 2009; Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004). As Zaki and Ochsner (this issue) correctly conclude, the lion's share of this research has focused on characterizing the cognitive and neural processes perceivers engage when encountering other minds. This approach has two conceptual limitations. First, it typically ignores whether the engagement of these processes leads to accurate inferences about those minds. Second, it is not social in the strong sense, as experiments typically only measured the brain activity and social perception of one isolated individual (the observer) while ignoring the relationship between that individual's brain activity and perception and those of the target or other individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Inquiry
Issue number3
Early online date24 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Social Neuroscience
  • Mind Perception


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