Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Front Hum Neurosci. 2012 Jun 6;6:151. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00151. eCollection 2012.

Reconceptualizing second-person interaction.

Author information

  • 1Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum Bochum, Germany.


Over the last couple of decades, most neuroscientific research on social cognition has been dominated by a third-person paradigm in which participating subjects are not actively engaging with other agents but merely observe them. Recently this paradigm has been challenged by researchers who promote a second-person approach to social cognition, and emphasize the importance of dynamic, real-time interactions with others. The present article's contribution to this debate is twofold. First, we critically analyze the second-person challenge to social neuroscience, and assess the various ways in which the distinction between second- versus third-person modes of social cognition has been articulated. Second, we put forward an alternative conceptualization of this distinction-one that gives pride of place to the notion of reciprocity. We discuss the implications of our proposal for neuroscientific studies on social cognition.


reciprocal interaction; second-person approach; social cognition; social interaction

Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk