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Journey to the edges: Social structures and neural maps of inter-group processes


Susan T. Fiske, Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08540 USA (e-mail:


This article explores boundaries of the intellectual map of inter-group processes, going to the macro (social structure) boundary and the micro (neural systems) boundary. Both are illustrated by with my own and others’ work on social structures and on neural structures related to inter-group processes. Analysing the impact of social structures on inter-group processes led to insights about distinct forms of sexism and underlies current work on forms of ageism. The stereotype content model also starts with the social structure of inter-group relations (interdependence and status) and predicts images, emotions, and behaviours. Social structure has much to offer the social psychology of inter-group processes. At the other, less explored boundary, social neuroscience addresses the effects of social contexts on neural systems relevant to inter-group processes. Both social structural and neural analyses circle back to traditional social psychology as converging indicators of inter-group processes.