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Social Neuroscience

  1. John T. Cacioppo,
  2. Gary G. Berntson,
  3. Adam Waytz

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0893

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Cacioppo, J. T., Berntson, G. G. and Waytz, A. 2010. Social Neuroscience. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Chicago

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Social neuroscience is the study of the associations between social and neural levels of organization and the biological mechanisms underlying these associations. Neuroscientists have tended to focus on single organisms, organs, cells, or intracellular processes. Social species create emergent organizations beyond the individual. These emergent structures evolved hand in hand with neural and hormonal mechanisms to support them because the consequent social behaviors helped animals survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long that they, too, reproduced. Social neuroscience, therefore, is concerned with how biological systems implement social processes and behavior. It capitalizes on concepts and methods from the neurosciences to inform and refine theories of social psychological processes, and it uses social and behavioral concepts and data to inform and refine theories of neural organization and function.


  • brain-behavior relationships;
  • neuroscience;
  • social behavior;
  • social neuroscience