Self-other processes in social cognition

Santiesteban, Idalmis (2014) Self-other processes in social cognition. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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This thesis aimed to investigate self-other processes in social cognition. Contrary to the traditional approach of focusing on self-other processes within the confines of a single domain, this thesis highlights the prominent role of these processes across different socio-cognitive domains. Three main empirical questions form the basis of the research reported here. The first is concerned with the extent to which self-other representations are shared across three different socio-cognitive abilities: the control of imitation, theory of mind, and visual perspective taking. The second relates to the neural underpinnings of self-other representations, in particular, the role of the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) during socio-cognitive processing. The third question examines the role of culture as a modulatory factor of self-other processes. The findings from Experiment 1, 3 and 4 showed a relationship between the control of imitation and visual perspective taking. This relationship seems to rely on the online control of co-activated self-other representations, which at the neural level are mediated by the TPJ (bilaterally). In Experiment 2 it was found that individuals with mirror-touch synaesthesia are impaired in the control of imitation but their performance on visual perspective taking and theory of mind is comparable with non-synaesthetes. It is hypothesised that atypical self-other processes in mirror-touch synaesthesia might be confined to situations in which representations of the ‘other’ should be inhibited, but not when they should be enhanced. Experiment 5 showed that acculturation strategies adopted by migrants modulate their imitative behaviour towards a member of the heritage vs. a member of the host culture. The diverse nature of the studies reported in this thesis shows the complexity of self-other processes in social cognition. Taken together, these findings demonstrate how adopting a wider approach to the investigation of self-other processes contributes towards a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying socio-cognitive abilities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 15:17
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2017 16:31

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