A second-person neuroscience in interaction

Leonhard Schilbach, Bert Timmermans, Vasudevi Reddy, Alan Costall, Gary Bente, Tobias Schlicht, Kai Vogeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this response we address additions to as well as criticisms and possible misinterpretations of our proposal for a second-person neuroscience. We map out the most crucial aspects of our approach by (1) acknowledging that second-person engaged interaction is not the only way to understand others, although we claim that it is ontogenetically prior; (2) claiming that spectatorial paradigms need to be complemented in order to enable a full understanding of social interactions; and (3) restating that our theoretical proposal not only questions the mechanism by which a cognitive process comes into being, but asks whether it is at all meaningful to speak of a mechanism and a cognitive process when it is confined to intra-agent space. We address theoretical criticisms of our approach by pointing out that while a second-person social understanding may not be the only mechanism, alternative approaches cannot hold their ground without resorting to second-person concepts, if not in the expression, certainly in the development of social understanding. In this context, we also address issues of agency and intentionality, theoretical alternatives, and clinical implications of our approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-462
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number04
Early online date25 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


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