In spite of the remarkable progress made in the burgeoning field of social neuroscience, the neural mechanisms that underlie social encounters are only beginning to be studied and could —paradoxically— be seen as representing the ‘dark matter’ of social neuroscience. Recent conceptual and empirical developments consistently indicate the need for investigations, which allow the study of real-time social encounters in a truly interactive manner. This suggestion is based on the premise that social cognition is fundamentally different when we are in (...) interaction with others rather than merely observing them. In this article, we outline the theoretical conception of a second-person approach to other minds and review evidence from neuroimaging, psychophysiological studies and related fields to argue for the development of a second-person neuroscience, which will help neuroscience to really go social; this may also be relevant for our understanding of psychiatric disorders construed as disorders of social cognition. (shrink)
Joint attention to an external object at the end of the first year is typically believed to herald the infant's discovery of other people's attention. I will argue that mutual attention in the first months of life already involves an awareness of the directednesss of attention. The self is experienced as the first object of this directedness followed by gradually more distal 'objects'. this view explains early infant affective self-consciousness within mutual attention as emotionally meaningful, rather than as bearing only (...) a spurious similarity to that in the second and third years of life. Such engagements precede and must inform, rather than derive from, conceptual representations of self and other, and can be better described as self-other conscious affects. (shrink)
The question of the relation between the collective and the individual has had a long but patchy history within both philosophy and psychology. In this chapter we consider some arguments that could be adopted for the primacy of the we, and examine their conceptual and empirical implications. We argue that the we needs to be seen as a developing and dynamic identity, not as something that exists fully fledged from the start. The concept of we thus needs more nuanced and (...) differentiated treatment than currently exists, distinguishing it from the idea of a ‘common ground’ and discerning multiple senses of ‘we-ness’. At an empirical level, beginning from the shared history of human evolution and prenatal existence, a simple sense of pre-reflective we-ness, we argue, emerges from second-person I-you engagement in earliest infancy. Developmentally, experientially and conceptually, engagement remains fundamental to the we throughout its many forms, characterized by reciprocal interaction and conditioned by the normative aspects of mutual addressing. (shrink)
A fundamental fact about human minds is that they are never truly alone: all minds are steeped in situated interaction. That social interaction matters is recognized by any experimentalist who seeks to exclude its influence by studying individuals in isolation. On this view, interaction complicates cognition. Here, we explore the more radical stance that interaction co-constitutes cognition: that we benefit from looking beyond single minds toward cognition as a process involving interacting minds. All around the cognitive sciences, there are approaches (...) that put interaction center stage. Their diverse and pluralistic origins may obscure the fact that collectively, they harbor insights and methods that can respecify foundational assumptions and fuel novel interdisciplinary work. What might the cognitive sciences gain from stronger interactional foundations? This represents, we believe, one of the key questions for the future. Writing as a transdisciplinary collective assembled from across the classic cognitive science hexagon and beyond, we highlight the opportunity for a figure-ground reversal that puts interaction at the heart of cognition. The interactive stance is a way of seeing that deserves to be a key part of the conceptual toolkit of cognitive scientists. (shrink)
The theory-theory is not supported by evidence in the everyday actions of infants and toddlers whose lives a Theory of Mind is meant radically to transform. This paper reviews some of these challenges to the theory-theory, particularly from communication and deception. We argue that the theory’s disconnection from action is both inevitable and paradoxical. The mind–behaviour dualism upon which it is premised requires a conceptual route to knowing minds and disallows a real test of the theory through the study of (...) action. Taking engagement seriously avoids these problems and requires that both lay people and psychologists be participants rather than observers in order to know, and indeed to create, minds. (shrink)
In this response we address additions to as well as criticisms and possible misinterpretations of our proposal for a second-person neuroscience. We map out the most crucial aspects of our approach by (1) acknowledging that second-person engaged interaction is not the only way to understand others, although we claim that it is ontogenetically prior; (2) claiming that spectatorial paradigms need to be complemented in order to enable a full understanding of social interactions; and (3) restating that our theoretical proposal not (...) only questions the mechanism by which a cognitive process comes into being, but asks whether it is at all meaningful to speak of a mechanism and a cognitive process when it is confined to intra-agent space. We address theoretical criticisms of our approach by pointing out that while a second-person social understanding may not be the only mechanism, alternative approaches cannot hold their ground without resorting to second-person concepts, if not in the expression, certainly in the development of social understanding. In this context, we also address issues of agency and intentionality, theoretical alternatives, and clinical implications of our approach. (shrink)
Taking a psychological and philosophical outlook, we approach making as an embodied and embedded skill via the skilled artisan’s experience of having a corporeal, nonlinguistic dialogue with the material while working with it. We investigate the dynamic relation between maker and material through the lens of pottery as illustrated by wheel throwing, claiming that the experience of dialogue signals an emotional involvement with clay. The examination of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of habit, the skilled intentionality framework, and material engagement theory shows that (...) while these theories explain complementary aspects of skillful engagement with the material world, they do not consider the dialogic dimension. By way of explanation, we submit that the artisan’s emotional engagement with the material world is based in openness and recognition and involves dialogue with the material. Drawing on the intimate relationship between movement and emotion, it promotes an open-ended manner of working and permits experiencing with the material, acting into its inherent possibilities. In conclusion, we suggest that dialogue, whether verbal or nonverbal, constitutes a primary means for making sense of the world at large, animate and inanimate. (shrink)
The entry of an external object or the ‘third element’ into the dyad is generally taken as necessary for evidence of an understanding of others' attention, leading to an equating of the terms joint attention and awareness of attention. This chapter considers meta-theoretical and methodological reasons for psychology's disregard of mutual attention in this context and provides an alternative account of the emergence and development of attention awareness. Through the course of the first year human infants show a range of (...) emotional reactions to mutual attention and an increasingly complex range of attempts to regain it when it is absent or retain it when it is present. Prior to the onset of joint attention involving distal objects, mutual attentional engagements expand from an awareness of the self as an ‘object’ of others' attention to an awareness of the infant's own actions and expressions as ‘objects’. Providing the most direct experience of others' attention, mutual attention not only also reveals an awareness of attention but is the basis upon which further appropriate development of attention awareness can occur. (shrink)
Barresi & Moore do not consider information about intentional relations available within emotional engagement with others and do not see that others are perceived in the second as well as the third person. Recognising second person information forces recognition of similarities and connections not otherwise available. A developmental framework built on the assumption of the complete separateness of self and other is inevitably flawed.
The study of the emergence of pretend play in developmental psychology has generally been restricted to analyses of children’s play with toys and everyday objects. The widely accepted criteria for establishing pretence are the child’s manipulation of object identities, attributes or existence. In this paper we argue that there is another arena for pretending—playful pretend teasing—which arises earlier than pretend play with objects and is therefore potentially relevant for understanding the more general emergence of pretence. We present examples of playful (...) pretend teasing in infancy before and around the end of the first year, involving pretend communicative gestures, mis-labelling and almost non-compliance with prohibitions. We argue that the roots of pretence not only lie earlier in human infancy than generally acknowledged, but also are rooted in playful emotional exchanges in which people recognise and respond to violations of communicative gestures and agreements. (shrink)
At the heart of the social intelligence hypothesis is the central role of ‘social living’. But living is messy and psychologists generally seek to avoid this mess in the interests of getting clean data and cleaner logical explanations. The study of deception as intelligent action is a good example of the dangers of such avoidance. We still do not have a full picture of the development of deceptive actions in human infants and toddlers or an explanation of why it emerges. (...) This paper applies Byrne & Whiten’s functional taxonomy of tactical deception to the social behaviour of human infants and toddlers using data from three previous studies. The data include a variety of acts, such as teasing, pretending, distracting and concealing, which are not typically considered in relation to human deception. This functional analysis shows the onset of non-verbal deceptive acts to be surprisingly early. Infants and toddlers seem to be able to communicate false information (about themselves, about shared meanings and about events) as early as true information. It is argued that the development of deception must be a fundamentally social and communicative process and that if we are to understand why deception emerges at all, the scientist needs to get ‘back to the rough ground’ as Wittgenstein called it and explore the messy social lives in which it develops. (shrink)
We review evidence that, from birth, infants have purposeful consciousness of rhythmic whole‐body movement, with multi‐modal perception of objects outside their body, and self‐related emotional appraisal of experiences. Newborns also exhibit a special human awareness of the vitality of company in actions and feelings, and a capacity to use imitation of action signs for dialogic exchange of intentions. These abilities are prepared by specific systems of body and brain that develop before birth. Through the first two years, a baby shows (...) age‐related advances with growth of motor powers in use of intersubjective play and object awareness. These developments are adapted for life‐time learning how to identify and share meaningful conventions of a culture, and the description of experiences in words of a living language. Teaching is stimulated and assimilated by the affections, playful humor, and imaginative curiosity of the child in the company of people they know well. (shrink)
Although it is a welcome and timely idea, the behavioural constellation of deprivation needs to explain how the development of personal control, trust, and perception of future risk is mediated through relationships with parents. Further, prioritising the present over the future may not be the essence of this constellation; perhapsnotquite being, either in the presentorin the future, is a better depiction.