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Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology: Development of the Social Brain, Volume 39

Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology: Development of the Social Brain, Volume 39

Maria D. Sera (Editor), Jed Elison (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-46173-9

Sep 2018

256 pages


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Social relationships play a central role in the evolution and development of human culture and cognition. Volume 39 of the Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology (Development of the Social Brain) adresses the ontogeny and phylogeny of the social brain from multiple perspectives and levels of analysis.  The chapters in this volume shed light on shared versus unique features of social information processing across different species, and sketch out some of the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie such processing. A collection of chapters from distinguished contibutors offer new insights into the unique nature of human development.

Flexibly and efficiently navigating the complex dynamics of social interaction remains one of the remarkable achievements of human evolution. As life in social contexts evolved, so did information processing  abilities that afforded new ways of interacting with others, emerging into what we now refer to as cultural cognition or cultural practices. The primary objective of the current volume was to consider phylogenetic and ontogenetic influence on specialized social information processing capactities. The volume brings together, for the first time, distinguished research scholars to consider central themes and principles associated with the development of the social brain. Readers will take away a fresh perspective on nature of human nature.


Preface ix

List of Contributors xiii

1 The Evolution and Ontogeny of Deep Social Mind and the Social Brain 1
Andrew Whiten

Introduction 1

Primate Machiavellian Intelligence and the Social Brain 3

Testing and Elaborating on the Social Brain Hypothesis 5

Primate Social Complexity and Social Cognition 8

From Machiavellian Intelligence to the Cultural Intelligence Hypothesis 9

The Cultural Intelligence Hypothesis and the Vygotskian Intelligence Hypothesis 14

The Evolution of Deep Social Mind 15

The Ontogeny of Deep Social Mind: The Life History Matrix 17

Extended Childhood 18

Neoteny 19

The Ontogenetic Development and Evolutionary Foundations of Deep Social Mind and Its Social Brain 20

Cooperation 21

Egalitarian Sharing 22

Mentalizing 25

Cultural Learning and Cumulative Culture 27

Language: Positive Feedback Between Elements of Deep Social Mind 32

Concluding Remarks 34

References 34

Part I: Animal Models of Social Brain Function

2 Neurobiology of Infant Sensitive Period for Attachment and Its Reinstatement Through Maternal Social Buffering 47
Regina M. Sullivan and Maya Opendak

Introduction 47

Neurobehavioral Assessment of Learned Maternal Cues During the Attachment Sensitive Period 53

Maternal Control Over Stress Hormones: Social Buffering 56

Changing Neurobehavioral Consequences of Social Buffering 61

Uncovering the Effects of Early-life Adversity 62

Adult Effects of Early-life Abuse Are Rescued by Infant Maternal Odor 63

Concluding Remarks 65

Acknowledgments 66

References 66

3 Marmoset Monkey Vocal Communication: Common Developmental Trajectories With Humans and Possible Mechanisms 87
Asif A. Ghazanfar, Daniel Y. Takahashi, Yisi S. Zhang, and Jeremy I. Borjon

Introduction 87

The Marmoset Monkey Model System 88

Babbling and Perinatal Influences on Vocal Output 90

Development of Vocal Turn-taking 96

Turn-taking as the Developmental System Upon Which Infant Vocalizations Are Learned 97

The Autonomic Nervous System as the Engine for Vocal Development 101

Evolutionary Origins 103

Conclusions 104

Acknowledgments 105

References 105

Part II: Higher-Order Human Social Brain Function

4 The Social Brain in Adolescence and Adulthood: Lessons in Mindreading 115
David Pollard, Stephanie Burnett Heyes, and Ian Apperly

Introduction: What Am I Thinking? 115

Reading Minds at One’s Fourth Birthday Party: The Cognitive Foundations of Mentalizing 117

A Primer for the Neural Foundations of Theory of Mind 118

What the Difficulties of Adults Can Tell Us About Theory of Mind Reasoning 120

Storing and Using Someone’s Mental State 121

Inferring Someone’s Mental State 122

Use of Mental State Inferences to Guide Social Behavior 124

Reading Minds Like Breathing Air: “Automatic” Perspective Taking 125

Building a Theory of Mind: Functional and Neural Changes Through Childhood and Adolescence 130

Social Changes 131

Cognitive Changes 132

Neural Changes 133

Conclusion 136

References 137

5 Developmental Social Neuroscience of Morality 147
Jean Decety and Jason M. Cowell

Introduction 147

Definitional Issues and Theoretical Perspectives 150

Perception and Sensitivity to Interpersonal Harm 155

Experiencing and Perceiving Pain: The Most Basic Level 156

Early Signs of Emotional Sensitivity 158

Empathic Concern and Its Key Role in Morality 163

Implicit Sociomoral Evaluations 167

Neurodevelopmental Changes in Third-Party Perception of Interpersonal Harm 172

Neurological Lesions That Impair Moral Cognition and Behavior 175

Atypical Functional and Anatomical Connectivity 176

What We Have Learned 179

Where Should Developmental Neuroscience Be Heading? 181

References 183

Part III: Summary and Future Directions

6 Development of the Social Brain: From Mechanisms to Principles 199
Ralph Adolphs and Jed T. Elison

Introduction 199

Mechanistic Features of Neural Development 203

The Social Environment: Permissive, Instructive, Enabling, and/or Buffering? 205

Causality: Partial Correlation Versus Temporal Order 208

What Are the Processes? Insights From the Varied Nature of Mentalizing 210

Domain Specificity Revisited 211

From Mechanisms to Principles 212

Acknowledgments 215

References 215

Index 219