The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Can social interaction constitute social cognition?

Posted in Seminars by Ezequiel on September 21, 2010

Announcing a new opinion article analysing the different roles that interaction processes can play in social cognition just published in TICS.

  • De Jaegher, H., Di Paolo. E. A., and Gallagher, S. (2010). Can social interaction constitute social cognition?, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(10), 441 – 447


An important shift is taking place in social cognition research, away from a focus on the individual mind and toward embodied and participatory aspects of social understanding. Empirical results already imply that social cognition is not reducible to the workings of individual cognitive mechanisms. To galvanize this inter- active turn, we provide an operational definition of social interaction and distinguish the different explanatory roles – contextual, enabling and constitutive – it can play in social cognition. We show that interactive processes are more than a context for social cognition: they can complement and even replace individual mechanisms. This new explanatory power of social interaction can push the field forward by expanding the possibilities of scientific explanation beyond the individual.

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