abstract Leonhard Schilbach

Leonhard Schilbach (Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Cologne, Germany)

Toward a second-person neuroscience: An interdisciplinary approach to social cognition.

Data coming from two monkeys implanted with cortical electrodes on the pre-frontal and sensorimotor cortex and related to the execution of a problem solving task were processed and analyzed to assess brain connectivity measures among couples and groups of variables in the framework of information theory.

In spite of the remarkable progress made in the burgeoning field of social neuroscience, the neural mechanisms that underlie social encounters are only beginning to be studied and could – paradoxically – be seen as representing the “dark matter” of social neuroscience. Recent conceptual and empirical developments consistently indicate the need for investigations that allow the study of real-time social encounters in a truly interactive manner. This suggestion is based on the premise that social cognition is fundamentally different when we are in interaction with others rather than merely observing them. In this talk, I will outline the theoretical conception of a second-person approach to other minds and will present preliminary evidence from functional neuroimaging studies to argue for the development of a second-person neuroscience, which may help neuroscience to really “go social” and could also be relevant for our understanding of the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders construed as disorders of social interaction.