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Am Psychol. 2001 Sep;56(9):717-34.

The emergence of social cognitive neuroscience.

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Department of Psychology, Stanford University, CA, USA.


Social cognitive neuroscience is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research that seeks to understand phenomena in terms of interactions between 3 levels of analysis: the social level, which is concerned with the motivational and social factors that influence behavior and experience; the cognitive level, which is concerned with the information-processing mechanisms that give rise to social-level phenomena; and the neural level, which is concerned with the brain mechanisms that instantiate cognitive-level processes. The social cognitive neuroscience approach entails conducting studies and constructing theories that make reference to all 3 levels and contrasts with traditional social psychological and cognitive neuroscientific research that primarily makes reference to 2 levels. The authors present an introduction to and analysis of the field by reviewing current research and providing guidelines and suggested directions for future work.

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