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Published February 2009 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

The social brain: neural basis of social knowledge


Social cognition in humans is distinguished by psychological processes that allow us to make inferences about what is going on inside other people—their intentions, feelings, and thoughts. Some of these processes likely account for aspects of human social behavior that are unique, such as our culture and civilization. Most schemes divide social information processing into those processes that are relatively automatic and driven by the stimuli, versus those that are more deliberative and controlled, and sensitive to context and strategy. These distinctions are reflected in the neural structures that underlie social cognition, where there is a recent wealth of data primarily from functional neuroimaging. Here I provide a broad survey of the key abilities, processes, and ways in which to relate these to data from cognitive neuroscience.

Additional Information

© 2009 by Annual Reviews. First published online as a Review in Advance on September 4, 2008. This review was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Simons Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. I thank Phillipe Schyns, Joanne Silk, and Susan Fiske for helpful comments on the manuscript.

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