Contributions of Functional Neuroimaging to the Study of Social Cognition
Author: Mitchell, Jason P.
Source: Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 17, Number 2, April 2008 , pp. 142-146(5)
Abstract:Increasingly, researchers have been applying the methods of cognitive neuroscience—especially functional neuroimaging—to address questions about how humans make inferences about the mental states of others. At the same time, a number of critics have warned against the use of these new techniques by suggesting that functional neuroimaging has been unable to provide novel insights into the nature of social cognition. Addressing these critiques, this article briefly describes some of the ways in which functional neuroimaging has indeed redirected the study of the social mind, reviewing not only the novel data these techniques have provided but also the ways in which cognitive neuroscience has prompted researchers to consider entirely new questions about the organization of human social cognition. Such questions include whether or not there are cognitive processes dedicated for social thought; what the constituent parts of our social-cognitive system might be; how social cognition overlaps with other mental processes in previously unanticipated ways; and whether social cognition might play a privileged role in the human cognitive repertoire.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2008-04-01