In spite of the remarkable progress made in the burgeoning field of social neuroscience, the neural mechanisms that underlie social encounters are only beginning to be studied and could —paradoxically— be seen as representing the ‘dark matter’ of social neuroscience. Recent conceptual and empirical developments consistently indicate the need for investigations, which allow the study of real-time social encounters in a truly interactive manner. This suggestion is based on the premise that social cognition is fundamentally different when we are in interaction with others rather than merely observing them. In this article, we outline the theoretical conception of a second-person approach to other minds and review evidence from neuroimaging, psychophysiological studies and related fields to argue for the development of a second-person neuroscience, which will help neuroscience to really go social; this may also be relevant for our understanding of psychiatric disorders construed as disorders of social cognition.
Bibliographical noteLS & BT : equal contributions (shared first-authorship)
- mentalizing network
- mirror neuron system
- social cognition from an interactor's point of view
- social cognition from an observer's point of view
- 'problem' of other minds
- second-person neuroscience