Neurons, Mind, and Culture
Edited by Gün R. Semin, Gerald Echterhoff
Psychology Press – 2011 – 288 pages
This volume concerns the longstanding intellectual puzzle of how individuals overcome their biological, neural, and mental finitude to achieve sociality. It explores how humans take each other into account, coordinate their actions, and are able to share their inner states and to communicate.
Sophisticated views on the bases of sociality are detailed at the level of neural mechanisms, perception and memory, motivation, communication and dialog, culture, and evolution. These insights have been inspired by major strides and exciting new developments in disciplines as far afield as ethology, evolutionary ecology, neuroscience, cognition, memory, developmental and social psychology, psycholinguistics, philosophy, robotics, and sociology. The volume is the first to bridge these disciplinary boundaries to lay the foundations for an integrated and general conceptualization of the bases of sociality and its implications for psychology. Each contribution presents different levels of the grounding of sociality and will further stimulate novel approaches to linking different layers of sociality, from the neural to the cultural level.
"A must-read overview of the cutting-edge science of embodied, situated social responses, here grounded at bodily levels from cortex to culture. The sampled authors provide original, deep, and provocative accounts of this exciting approach." - Susan T. Fiske, Ph.D., Eugene Higgins Professor, Department of Psychology, Princeton University, USA
"Fundamental questions about the processes underlying human sociality have recently come into focus: How do we understand and empathize with each others’ mental states, cooperate, and carry out joint action? This timely collection brings together major contributions from perspectives ranging across social psychology, neuroscience, evolution, ecological psychology, and cultural psychology. It will be a valuable resource for any researchers interested in the origins and nature of social life." - Eliot R. Smith, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, USA
"In this exciting volume, internationally renowned experts offer incisive and nuanced accounts of the grounding of human sociality from multiple disciplinary perspectives. This is a volume the field has been waiting for." - Chi-yue Chiu, Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
G.R. Semin, G. Echterhoff , Introduction. Part 1. Foundations of Sociality and Communication. M. Iacoboni, Mirroring as a Key Neural Mechanism of Sociality. G.R. Semin, J.T. Cacioppo, Grounding Intersubjectivity: Biological and Social Bases. M. Graf, S. Schütz-Bosbach, W. Prinz, Motor Representations in the Perception of Actions and Objects: Similarity and Complementarity. Part 2. Sociality and Memory. W. Hirst, A. Brown, On the Virtues of an Unreliable Memory: Its Role in Constructing Sociality. G. Echterhoff, E.T. Higgins, Creating Shared Reality in Communication: Audience-Tuning Effects on Speakers’ Memory. Part 3. Sociality: Underlying Motives, Dialogical Practice and Culture. E.T. Higgins, Sharing Inner States: A Defining Feature of Human Motivation. M.J. Pickering, S. Garrod, The Use of Prediction to Drive Alignment in Dialogue. Y. Kashima, Situated Sociality and Cultural Dynamics: A Puzzle of Necessary Dependency and Perceived Dissociation. Part 4. Evolutionary Perspectives on Sociality. L. Barrett, Too Much Monkey Business. L. Caporael, Sociality Is the Ground: Evolution and Core Group Configurations.
Gün Semin is an Academy Professor with The Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University. He has previously served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Psychology at the Free University (1990-2004), where he also was the Research Director (2000-2003) of the Faculty of Psychology and Education. He was also the founding Scientific Director of the Kurt Lewin Institute (1992-1996), the inter-university graduate school in social psychology and its applications and was Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Sciences (SCSS) of the European Science Foundation. His main research interest is in embodied social cognition, communication and language – aside from specific research projects he is currently running on affect and affective processes and action-perception link. He is a widely published author and has developed a linguistic model, which has resulted in the study of language and social cognition. Further information about his research and publications can be obtained via http://cratylus.org/ .
Gerald Echterhoff, Dr. habil., Ph.D. (New School for Social Research, New York, 2000), holds a full professorship for social psychology at Münster University, Germany. Before he was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University (2001-2002), assistant professor (wiss. Assistent) at Bielefeld University, Germany (2004-2008), visiting professor at the University of Cologne, Germany (2008), and professor of psychology at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. His research interests include interpersonal communication, shared reality, social influence on memory and judgment, social cognition, and cultural contexts of remembering. In a signature field of investigation, his lab group studies how audience-oriented communication shapes speakers’ own memory and thinking. His research has been published in leading international journals such as Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Social Cognition. He is editor of several volumes including "Kontexte und Kulturen des Erinnerns [Contexts and Cultures of Remembering]" (with Martin Saar; 2002). Also see http://geraldechterhoff.com .