Social Neuroscience: People Thinking About Thinking People.
John T. Cacioppo, Penny S. Visser, and Cynthia L. Pickett (Eds.). 2006.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 328 pp., $45.00 (HB)
Perhaps not since the flowering of clinical neuropsychology thirty
years ago have we seen this sense of exhilaration about the emergence of a
new field through the integration of existing disciplines. Clearly, these
authors and thinkers feel the same excitement that could be felt when new
collaborations were being forged among neurologists, psychiatrists,
psychologists, and communication specialists in earlier decades. For the
emerging field of social neuroscience, the parent fields include social
psychology (see, for example, chapters on Race and Emotion, The Social
Neuroscience of Stereotyping and Prejudice, Social and Physical Pain, and
Animal Models of Human Attitudes), clinical neuropsychology (Neurological
Substrates of Emotional and Social Intelligence: Evidence from Patients
with Focal Brain Lesions), social cognition (Neural Substrates of Self
Awareness, and three chapters bearing directly on Theory of Mind) and, of
course, cognitive and basic neuroscience. Each chapter includes
theoretical perspectives from multiple fields and reviews studies that use
diverse techniques (including functional imaging, ERP, behavioral scales,
lesion studies, developmental studies, and animal studies), although the
book is very heavy on functional imaging data. As the editors acknowledge,
animal and patient data are not represented in a thorough way.