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What Makes Us Social? (Jean Nicod Lectures)

What Makes Us Social? (Jean Nicod Lectures)

Current price: $60.00
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
The MIT Press
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A deep dive into the social mind-brain, examining the processes we share with other social animals and illuminating those that are uniquely human.

What Makes Us Social? is a scholarly but accessible exploration of the underlying processes that make humans the most social species on the planet. Chris and Uta Frith, pioneers in the field of cognitive neuroscience, review the many forms of social behavior that we humans share with other animals and examine the special form that only humans possess, including its dark side. These uniquely human abilities allow us to reflect on our behavior and share these reflections with other people, which in turn enables us to reason why we do things and to exert some control over our automatic behaviors. As a result, we can learn cooperatively with others and create and value cultural artifacts that survive through the generations.  

Going beyond how we come to know ourselves and understand the mind of others, Frith and Frith investigate how we adapt mutually to make social interactions work. This book stands out in its application of a computational framework—one that lies at the intersection of psychology and artificial intelligence—to key concepts of social cognition, such as empathy, trust, group identity, and reputation management. Ultimately, What Makes Us Social? is a profound examination of the ways we communicate, cooperate, share, and compete with other humans and how these capabilities define us as a species.

About the Author

Chris Frith is Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London and Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy, University of London. He is author of Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World.

Uta Frith is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. She is author of Autism: Explaining the Enigma.

The Friths jointly received the European Latsis Prize in 2009 for their contribution to understanding the human mind and brain, the Jean Nicod Prize in 2014 for their work on social cognition, and the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2021.