Social semantics: the role of conceptual knowledge and cognitive control in a neurobiological model of the social brain

Richard J. Binney*, Richard Ramsey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Research in social neuroscience has primarily focused on carving up cognition into distinct pieces, as a function of mental process, neural network or social behaviour, while the need for unifying models that span multiple social phenomena has been relatively neglected. Here we present a novel framework that treats social cognition as a case of semantic cognition, and which is neurobiologically constrained and generalizable, with clear, testable predictions regarding sociocognitive processing in the context of both health and disease. According to this framework, social cognition relies on two principal systems of representation and control. These systems are neuroanatomically and functionally distinct, but interact to (1) enable development of foundational, conceptual-level knowledge and (2) regulate access to this information in order to generate flexible and context-appropriate social behaviour. The Social Semantics framework shines new light on the mechanisms of social information processing by maintaining as much explanatory power as prior models of social cognition, whilst remaining simpler, by virtue of relying on fewer components that are “tuned” towards social interactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-38
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
    Volume112
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020

    Keywords

    • social cognition
    • control
    • representation
    • semantic cognition
    • cognitive neuroscience

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