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Neural basis of social learning, social deciding, and other-regarding preferences

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194292 Year: Pages: 199 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-429-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans and many other social animals decide, or learn when necessary, what to do in a given social situation by assessing a range of variables related to social states (e.g., competitive or cooperative), others’ overt behavior (e.g., response choices and outcomes), others’ covert mental states (e.g., beliefs, intentions and desires), and one’s own interpersonal inclination (e.g. other-regarding preferences and generosity). Recent studies in social neuroscience have begun to uncover how such social variables are processed, encoded, and integrated in the brain. The goal of the current Research Topic is to promote a better understanding of neural basis of social learning, social decision-making, and other-regarding preferences.

The Neural Underpinnings of Vicarious Experience

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192649 Year: Pages: 169 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-264-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Everyday we vicariously experience a range of states that we observe in other people: we may "feel" embarrassed when witnessing another making a social faux pas, or we may feel sadness when we see a loved one upset. In some cases this process appears to be implicit. For instance, observing pain in others may activate pain-related neural processes but without generating an overt feeling of pain. In other cases, people report a more literal, conscious sharing of affective or somatic states and this has sometimes been described as representing an extreme form of empathy. By contrast, there appear to be some people who are limited in their ability to vicariously experience the states of others. This may be the case in several psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, and personality disorders where deficits in interpersonal understanding are observed, such as schizophrenia, autism, and psychopathy. In recent decades, neuroscientists have paid significant attention to the understanding of the “social brain,” and the way in which neural processes govern our understanding of other people. In this Research Topic, we wish to contribute towards this understanding and ask for the submission of manuscripts focusing broadly on the neural underpinnings of vicarious experience. This may include theoretical discussion, case studies, and empirical investigation using behavioural techniques, electrophysiology, brain stimulation, and neuroimaging in both healthy and clinical populations. Of specific interest will be the neural correlates of individual differences in traits such as empathy, how we distinguish between ourselves and other people, and the sensorimotor resonant mechanisms that may allow us to put ourselves in another's shoes.

Perspective Taking: Building a neurocognitive framework for integrating the "social" and the "spatial"

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194179 Year: Pages: 252 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-417-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Background: Interacting with other people involves spatial awareness of one’s own body and the other’s body and viewpoint. In the past, social cognition has focused largely on belief reasoning, which is abstracted away from spatial and bodily representations, while there is a strong tradition of work on spatial and object representation which does not consider social interactions. These two domains have flourished independently. A small but growing body of research examines how awareness of space and body relates to the ability to interpret and interact with others. This also builds on the growing awareness that many cognitive processes are embodied, which could be of relevance for the integration of the social and spatial domains: Online mental transformations of spatial representations have been shown to rely on simulated body movements and various aspects of social interaction have been related to the simulation of a conspecific’s behaviour within the observer’s bodily repertoire. Both dimensions of embodied transformations or mappings seem to serve the purpose of establishing alignment between the observer and a target. In spatial cognition research the target is spatially defined as a particular viewpoint or frame of reference (FOR), yet, in social interaction research another viewpoint is occupied by another’s mind, which crucially requires perspective taking in the sense of considering what another person experiences from a different viewpoint. Perspective taking has been studied in different ways within developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience over the last few decades, yet, integrative approaches for channelling all information into a unified account of perspective taking and viewpoint transformations have not been presented so far. Aims: This Research Topic aims to bring together the social and the spatial, and to highlight findings and methods which can unify research across areas. In particular, the topic aims to advance our current theories and set the stage for future developments of the field by clarifying and linking theoretical concepts across disciplines. Scope: The focus of this Research Topic is on the SPATIAL and the SOCIAL, and we anticipate that all submissions will touch on both aspects and will explicitly attempt to bridge conceptual gaps. Social questions could include questions of how people judge another person’s viewpoint or spatial capacities, or how they imagine themselves from different points of view. Spatial questions could include consideration of different physical configurations of the body and the arrangement of different viewpoints, including mental rotation of objects or viewpoints that have social relevance. Questions could also relate to how individual differences (in personality, sex, development, culture, species etc.) influence or determine social and spatial perspective judgements. Many different methods can be used to explore perspective taking, including mental chronometry, behavioural tasks, EEG/MEG and fMRI, child development, neuropsychological patients, virtual reality and more. Bringing together results and approaches from these different domains is a key aim of this Research Topic. We welcome submissions of experimental papers, reviews and theory papers which cover these topics.

Interactions between emotions and social context: Basic, clinical and non-human evidence

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193196 Year: Pages: 217 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-319-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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The emotions that we feel and also those that we perceive in others are crucial to the social functioning of both humans and non-human animals. Although the role of context has been extensively studied in basic sensory processing, its relevance for social cognition and emotional processing is little understood. In recent years, several lines of research at the behavioral and neural levels have highlighted the bidirectional interactions that take place between emotions and social context. Experienced emotions, even when incidental, bias decision-making. Remarkably, even basic emotions can be strongly influenced by situational contexts. In addition, both humans and non-human animals can use emotional expressions strategically as a means of influencing and managing the behavioral response of others in relation to specific environmental situations. Moreover, social emotions (e.g., engaged in moral judgment, empathic concern and social norms) seem to be context-dependent, which also questions a purely abstract account of emotion understanding and expression, as well as other social cognition domains. The present Research Topic of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience highlights the need for a situated approach to emotion and social cognition. We presented theoretical and empirical work at the behavioral and neural levels that contribute to our understanding of emotion within a highly contextualized social realm, and vice-versa. Relevant contributions are presented from diverse fields, including ethology, neurology, biology, cognitive and social neuroscience, and as well as psychology and neuropsychiatry. This integrated approach that entails the interaction between emotion and social context provide important new insights into the growing field of social neuroscience.

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