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    Self–other control processes in social cognition: from imitation to empathy

    de Guzman, M. and Bird, Geoffrey and Banissy, M.J. and Catmur, C. (2016) Self–other control processes in social cognition: from imitation to empathy. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371 (1686), p. 20150079. ISSN 0962-8436.

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    We review the evidence that an ability to achieve a precise balance between representing the self and representing other people is crucial in social interaction. This ability is required for imitation, perspective-taking, theory of mind and empathy; and disruption to this ability may contribute to the symptoms of clinical and sub-clinical conditions, including autism spectrum disorder and mirror-touch synaesthesia. Moving beyond correlational approaches, a recent intervention study demonstrated that training participants to control representations of the self and others improves their ability to control imitative behaviour, and to take another's visual perspective. However, it is unclear whether these effects apply to other areas of social interaction, such as the ability to empathize with others. We report original data showing that participants trained to increase self–other control in the motor domain demonstrated increased empathic corticospinal responses (Experiment 1) and self-reported empathy (Experiment 2), as well as an increased ability to control imitation. These results suggest that the ability to control self and other representations contributes to empathy as well as to other types of social interaction.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): empathy, self–other control, transcranial magnetic stimulation, imitation–inhibition, motor-evoked potentials, social interaction
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 14:13
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:20


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