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Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Jun;13(6):246-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 May 6.

Social psychology as a natural kind.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. jason.mitchell@harvard.edu

Abstract

Although typically defined as the study of how people and groups interact, the field of social psychology comprises several disparate domains that make only indirect contributions to understanding interpersonal interaction, such as emotion, attitudes and the self. Although these various phenomena seem to have little in common, recent evidence indicates that the topics at the core of social psychology form a natural group of domains with a common functional neuroanatomy, centered on the medial prefrontal cortex. That self-referential, attitudinal, affective and other social phenomena converge on this region might reflect their shared reliance on inexact and internally generated estimates that differ from the more precise representations underlying other psychological phenomena.

PMID:
19427258
PMCID:
PMC2935896
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2009.03.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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