ISBN: 9780262358965 | 440 pp. | August 2020

The Social Brain

A Developmental Perspective
Edited by Jean Decety

Recent research on the developmental origins of the social mind supports the view that social cognition is present early in infancy and childhood in surprisingly sophisticated forms. Developmental psychologists have found ingenious ways to test the social abilities of infants and young children, and neuroscientists have begun to study the neurobiological mechanisms that implement and guide early social cognition. Their work suggests that, far from being unfinished adults, babies are exquisitely designed by evolution to capture relevant social information, learn, and explore their social environments. This volume offers a range of empirical and theoretical perspectives on the relationship between biology and social cognition from infancy through childhood.

The contributors consider scientific advances in early social perception and cognition, including findings on the development of face processing and social perceptual biases; explore recent research on early infant competencies for language and theory of mind, including a developmental account of how young children become moral agents and the role of electrophysiology in identifying psychological processes that underpin social cognition; discuss the origins and development of prosocial behavior, reviewing evidence for a set of innate predispositions to be social, cooperative, and altruistic; examine how young children make social categories; and analyze atypical social cognition, including autism spectrum disorder and psychopathy.


Lior Abramson, Renée Baillargeon, Pascal Belin, Frances Buttelmann, Melody Buyukozer Dawkins, Sofia Cardenas, Michael J. Crowley, Fabrice Damon, Jean Decety, Michelle de Haan, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Xiao Pan Ding, Kristen A. Dunfield, Rachel D. Fine, Ana Fló, Jennifer R. Frey, Susan A. Gelman, Diane Goldenberg, Marie-Hélène Grosbras, Tobias Grossmann, Caitlin M. Hudac, Dora Kampis, Tara A. Karasewich, Ariel Knafo-Noam, Tehila Kogut, Ágnes Melinda Kovács, Valerie A. Kuhlmeier, Kang Lee, Narcis Marshall, Eamon McCrory, David Méary, Christos Panagiotopoulos, Olivier Pascalis, Markus Paulus, Kevin A. Pelphrey, Marcela Peña, Valerie F. Reyna, Marjorie Rhodes, Ruth Roberts, Hagit Sabato, Darby Saxbe, Virginia Slaughter, Jessica A. Sommerville, Maayan Stavans, Nikolaus Steinbeis, Fransisca Ting, Florina Uzefovsky, Essi Viding

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. I. Early Social Perception and Cognition
  3. 1. Development of Voice Perception in the Human Brain

    Marie-Hélène Grosbras and Pascal Bel

  4. 2. Building a Face-Space for Social Cognition

    Fabrice Damon, David Méary, Michelle de Haan and Olivier Pascalis

  5. 3. Principles and Concepts in Early Moral Cognition

    Fransisca Ting, Melody Buyukozer Dawkins, Maayan Stavans, and Renée Baillargeon

  6. 4. Early Social Cognition: Exploring the Role of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

    Tobias Grossmann

  7. 5. Foundations of Imitation

    Virginia Slaughter

  8. 6. The Development of the Social Brain within a Family Context

    Diane Goldenberg, Narcis Marshall, Sofia Cardenas, and Darby Saxbe

  9. II. Language and Theory of Mind
  10. 7. Infants' Early Competence for Language and Symbols

    Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Ana Fló, and Marcela Peña

  11. 8. Developing a Theory of Mind: Are Infants Sensitive to How Other People Represent the World?

    Dora Kampis, Frances Buttelmann, and Ágnes Melinda Kovács

  12. 9. How Do Young Children Become Moral Agents? A Developmental Perspective

    Markus Paulus

  13. 10. Understanding Others' Minds and Morals: Progress and Innovation of Infant Electrophysiology

    Caitlin M. Hudac and Jessica A. Sommerville

  14. 11. Cognitive and Neural Correlates of Children’s Spontaneous Verbal Deception

    Xiao Pan Ding and Kang Lee

  15. III. Prosocial Behavior
  16. 12. Multiple Mechanisms of Prosocial Development

    Jean Decety and Nikolaus Steinbeis

  17. 13. Selective Prosocial Behavior in Early Childhood

    Valerie A. Kuhlmeier, Tara A. Karasewich, and Kristen A. Dunfield

  18. 14. What Do We (Not) Know about the Genetics of Empathy?

    Lior Abramson, Florina Uzefovsky, and Ariel Knafo-Noam

  19. 15. The Development of Children’s Sharing Behavior: Recipients’ and Givers’ Characteristics

    Hagit Sabato and Tehila Kogut

  20. IV. Social Categorization
  21. 16. The Role of Essentialism in Children’s Social Judgments

    Susan A. Gelman and Rachel D. Fine

  22. 17. Are Humans Born to Hate? Three Myths and Three Developmental Lessons about the Origins of Social Categorization and Intergroup Bias

    Marjorie Rhodes

  23. V. Atypical Social Cognition
  24. 18. Toward a Translational Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience of Autism

    Kevin A. Pelphrey, Jennifer R. Frey, and Michael J. Crowley

  25. 19. Developmental Origins of Psychopathy

    Essi Viding, Eamon McCrory, and Ruth Roberts

  26. 20. Morals, Money, and Risk-Taking from Childhood to Adulthood: The Neurodevelopmental Framework of Fuzzy Trace Theory

    Valerie F. Reyna and Christos Panagiotopoulos

  27. Contributors
  28. Index