Journal article

Reconceptualizing second-person interaction

Over the last couple of decades, most neuroscientific research on social cognition has been dominated by a third person paradigm in which participating subjects are not actively engaging with other agents but merely observe them. Recently this paradigm has been challenged by researchers who promote a second-person approach to social cognition, and emphasize the importance of dynamic, real-time interactions with others. The present article's contribution to this debate is twofold. First, we critically analyze the second-person challenge to social neuroscience, and assess the various ways in which the distinction between second- versus third-person modes of social cognition has been articulated. Second, we put forward an alternative conceptualization of this distinction-one that gives pride of place to the notion of reciprocity. We discuss the implications of our proposal for neuroscientific studies on social cognition.


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