University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

Can social interaction constitute social cognition?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • H. de Jaegher
  • E. di Paolo
  • S. Gallagher
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
JournalTrends in cognitive sciences
Journal publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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 interactive 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.


Original article can be found at: Copyright Elsevier [Full text of this article is not available in the UHRA]

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