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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Discovering the biological correlates of social behavior and the interaction between social and biological factors has long been of interest, but the effort is gaining momentum with the recent advances in neuroscience. This book describes current knowledge about the relationships between biological forces and social interplay.
Purpose: This book is intended to "capture the excitement" of social neuroscience. There are three main goals, which include reviewing the current literature, presenting the theoretical and methodological richness of the field, and conveying a primer for social neuroscience.
Audience: The targeted audience includes social neuroscience researchers and students, and those of the associated and related disciplines involved in this burgeoning field. The editors are accomplished researchers and the contributing authors are drawn from an international cohort.
Features: The information is presented from a variety of perspectives that readers will find useful. Chapters contain information about lesion studies, fMRI, EEG, ERP, and cardiovascular studies. For readers needing a quick review of neuroanatomy, this is provided early on as it relates to social constructs. A detailed chapter discusses stress responses in a variety of conditions and how this is modulated by social behavior. This is followed by research findings in other social areas, such as motivation, empathy, and social intelligence. The sections are well organized and the references are up to date. Table and figures throughout help summarize the data. Unfamiliar concepts are elaborated (e.g., how heart rate is measured) for novices, but the book makes it effortless for more advanced researchers to gloss over these sections. Furthermore, in an attempt to make the book accessible to readers of all levels, notes at the end of some chapters explain terminology and suggest additional readings without bogging down the chapters in detail that is unnecessary for most readers.
Assessment: As an introduction to social neuroscience, this book delivers. In a few afternoons, novice readers can familiarize themselves with the field and seasoned researchers can update their knowledge in areas that may not be their primary focus. The breadth of theories and methodologies means that this book provides an instructive forum that will appeal to a wide audience and may stimulate conceptual expansions in future research.