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Published May 5, 2016 | public
Journal Article

What does the interactive brain hypothesis mean for social neuroscience? A dialogue


A recent framework inspired by phenomenological philosophy, dynamical systems theory, embodied cognition and robotics has proposed the interactive brain hypothesis (IBH). Whereas mainstream social neuroscience views social cognition as arising solely from events in the brain, the IBH argues that social cognition requires, in addition, causal relations between the brain and the social environment. We discuss, in turn, the foundational claims for the IBH in its strongest form; classical views of cognition that can be raised against the IBH; a defence of the IBH in the light of these arguments; and a response to this. Our goal is to initiate a dialogue between cognitive neuroscience and enactive views of social cognition. We conclude by suggesting some new directions and emphases that social neuroscience might take.

Additional Information

© 2016 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. Accepted: 6 January 2016; Published 11 April 2016. H.D.J. is funded by a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship, RYC-2013-14583. R.A. was supported in part by a Conte Center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (USA). We thank Guillaume Dumas, Frederick Eberhardt, Riitta Hari and the reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. Authors' contributions: E.D.P. and H.D.J. are the primary authors of §§2 and 4; R.A. is the primary author of §§3 and 5; all authors contributed equally to §§1 and 6, and all authors provided substantial input to all sections of the paper. We have no competing interests.

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