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Social Cognition: Development, Neuroscience and Autism

Tricia Striano (Editor), Vincent Reid (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6217-3
376 pages
September 2008, ©2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Social Cognition: Development, Neuroscience and Autism (1405162171) cover image


How we perceive and interpret the actions of others is crucial if we are to develop into healthy adults. It has even been argued that a lack of social cognitive skills lays a strong foundation for a variety of atypical developmental disorders, including autism.

Fortunately, our understanding of how humans process and interpret each other's actions has increased by leaps and bounds in the past decade. At the vanguard of these encouraging developments has been groundbreaking research in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and autism. Social Cognition: Development, Neuroscience and Autism is the first volume to fully integrate these areas of cutting-edge research on social cognition through contributions from some of the world's foremost experts in all three disciplines.

The text is edited by distinguished development specialists who preface each section with chapter by chapter summaries that seamlessly link each of the contributing essays. Sections include related chapters on perspectives on social cognition, social cognition during infancy, social cognition and the adult brain, and social cognition: the challenge of autism. The text's final section serves as a commentary highlighting the fundamental issues that have been addressed in the text. Social Cognition: Development, Neuroscience and Autism is an indispensable addition to the rapidly expanding field of social cognition—and will provide valuable new insights on how we think and learn.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables.



Part One Research and Social Cognition.

1. Social Cognition at the Crossroads: Perspectives on Understanding Others (Tricia Striano and Vincent Reid).

2. Research Methodology and Social Cognition (Vincent Reid and Elena Geangu).

Part Two Cognitive Neuroscience.

Editors’ Introduction.

3. Do Adolescents Simulate? Developmental Studies of the Human Mirror Neuron System (Marco Iacoboni).

4. The Inhibition of Imitative Behavior and Attribution of Mental States (Marcel Brass and Stephanie Spengler).

5. Social Perception: Understanding Other People’s Intentions and Emotions through their Actions (Julie Grèzes and Beatrice de Gelder).

6. Development of the Social Brain during Adolescence (Sarah-Jayne Blakemore).

7. How do we Understand Others’ Intentions? An Attentional Investigation (Pines Nuku and Harold Bekkering).

Part Three Social Cognition during infancy.

Editors’ Introduction.

8. Memories for Events in Infants: Goal-Relevant Action Coding (Ildikó Király).

9. The Interchange of Self-Performed Actions and Perceived Actions in Infants (Petra Hauf).

10. Tools and Goals: A Social-Cognition Perspective on Infant Learning of Object Function (Birgit Elsner).

11. The Directed-Attention Model of Infant Social Cognition: Further Evidence (Vincent Reid and Tricia Striano).

12. Reading Faces in Infancy: Developing a Multi-Level Analysis of a Social Stimulus (Tobias Grossmann and Amrisha Vaish).

13. The Perception of Emotional Expressions during Infancy (Stefanie Hoehl.

Part Four Social Cognition: The challenge of autism.

Editors’ Introduction.

14. Face and Gaze Processing in Autism (Robert Joseph and Helen Tager-Flusberg).

15. Beyond Social Perception: The Case of Autism (Jessica Hobson and R. Peter Hobson).

16. The Role of Looking in Social Cognition: Perspectives from Development and Autism (Claes von Hofsten and Gustaf Gredebäck).

17. What Does the Study of Autism Tell us about the Craft of Folk Psychology? (Richard Griffin and Daniel Dennett).

18. The Other End of the Spectrum? Social Cognition in Williams Syndrome (Jon Brock, Shiri Einav, and Deborah M. Riby).

Part Five Commentaries.

19. Commentary: Mutual Recognition as a Foundation of Sociality and Social Comfort (Philippe Rochat).

20. Commentary on Social Cognition: Development, Neuroscience, and Autism (Charles Nelson).

21. Commentary: How Social is Social Cognition? (Simon Baron-Cohen).


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Author Information

Tricia Striano is Associate Professor of Psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is specialist of social and cognitive development in early infancy. Striano is author of over 80 publications and recipient of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation www.infancyresearch.com.

Vincent Reid is a lecturer in psychology at Durham University, England. He has authored numerous papers on early social-cognitive development across a broad array of topics from the neural correlates of biological motion detection through to goal anticipation.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Covers the latest advances in cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and autism research on the topic of social cognition

  • Features contributions from some of the world's foremost scientists in social cognition

  • Includes summaries by the editors to establish links between sections and chapters

  • Highlights the fundamental issues addressed in the text and issues that still need to be addressed

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"The volume is an important collection of chapters at the cutting edge of developmental social neuroscience. In addition to several well known figures, the international array of authors includes some rising stars whose work points to the future of the field. This exciting synthesis of social cognition and developmental neuroscience will provide stimulating reading for a wide variety of researchers and students of typical and atypical human development."
Professor Mark H Johnson, Director of the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development, University of London

"A landmark for a new era in social cognition research, Striano and Reid have gathered together an outstanding collection of contributions to point the way to a truly interdisciplinary social cognitive developmental neuroscience. Coherently organized and thoughtfully edited, this volume represents the latest in research and theory on social cognition in the brain and on how it changes through typical and atypical development. The quality and range of the chapters will make the volume an invaluable reference for researchers and students alike."
Professor Chris Moore, Dalhousie University, Canada

"The new discipline of social neuroscience has made remarkable strides in the last decade. This book is an important and highly readable collection of essays in the field. It should help dissolve the barrier between what C P Snow called "The two cultures" - science and humanities - long separated by a gap he regarded as unbridgeable."
VS Ramachandran MD

"The last 10 years have witnessed an explosion in our understanding of the neural and developmental factors that underlie social interactions in humans. This impressive volume skilfully weaves together the various threads that have driven this revolution forward to produce a work of significant importance.

"Striano and Reid have managed to bring together most of the world’s top experts in social cognitive neurosciences through 21 neatly written and interrelated chapters. It is refreshing to see that the majority of authors are European-based, thereby providing not just a European perspective on this vibrant discipline, but underscoring the centrality of European research in this endeavour.

"As a whole, this collection provides both an erudite and gripping glimpse into what makes us who we are as individuals within a society. While there are several other works on the foundations of social cognition, Section 4 of the current volume on social cognition in children with autism and other developmental disorders makes the work stand out as a unique contribution. It should be essential reading for students of human behaviour and practitioners alike who wish to catch up with the latest developments in our understanding of the social brain."
Professor Denis Mareschal, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck University of London

"Taken individually, each of the chapters in Striano and Reid’s important new volume extends the horizon of what is known regarding mechanisms of social cognition and its development. Taken as a whole, this volume compellingly showcases the power of interdisciplinary collaboration, and highlights the key role such collaboration will play in illuminating the human social capacity."
Dr Dare Baldwin, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon

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