ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 472-480.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00472

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇


程羽慧, 袁祥勇(), 蒋毅   

  1. 中国科学院心理研究所, 脑与认知科学国家重点实验室, 脑科学与智能技术卓越创新中心, 北京 100101;中国科学院大学心理学系, 北京 100049;北京脑科学与类脑研究中心, 北京 102206
  • 收稿日期:2020-05-14 出版日期:2021-03-15 发布日期:2021-01-26
  • 通讯作者: 袁祥勇
  • 基金资助:

The cognitive characteristics of and the brain mechanisms underlying social interaction processing from a third-person perspective

CHENG Yuhui, YUAN Xiangyong(), JIANG Yi   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing 102206, China
  • Received:2020-05-14 Online:2021-03-15 Published:2021-01-26
  • Contact: YUAN Xiangyong


在日常生活中, 从“第三人称”的视角识别并理解他人的社会互动至关重要。这种社会互动加工具有两种认知特性:构形整体性和动作关联性; 体现为一个由众多脑区共同参与的层级加工过程, 主要包括个体知觉网络、动作观察网络和心智化网络。其中, 后颞上沟等脑区在表征社会互动关系中起着关键作用。未来的研究需要结合多种技术手段进一步揭示社会互动加工的遗传特性和神经机制, 并关注它在实际生活中的应用。

关键词: 社会互动, 第三人称视角, 构形加工, 动作关联性, 脑机制


Social interaction can be defined as a process that one individual delivers his communicative intention through body or spoken languages, and the other individual makes a reaction according to his understanding of the intention. As inherently social beings, humans are equipped with a remarkable ability to rapidly recognize and decipher the communicative intentions embedded in others’ social interaction. This ability is not only fundamental to the development and survival of humans, but also to our daily interpersonal interaction. Recently, researchers have attached great importance to the cognitive characteristics and neural mechanisms underlying the social interaction processing from the third-person perspective. In their experiments, social interaction can be displayed through pictures, videos, the movements of point-light figures, and even simple geometric shapes that depicting biological motions. There are some prerequisites for ones’ activities being perceived as engaging in social interaction. Specifically, two agents should be spatially close and face-to-face, and their actions should be temporally contingent on each other and have definite meanings. Overall, there are two main cognitive characteristics manifested by the perception of social interaction: configuration integrity and action contingency. On the one hand, facing dyads engaging in social interaction would be represented as a single, holistic unit rather than as two independent individuals. By virtual of the global configuration processing, social interactive agents would gain preferential attention and be efficiently stored in memory. On the other hand, the interactive activities are temporally contingent and semantically related, which suggests that they may be processed in a contingent and predictive manner. Such action contingency processing allows observers to predict the upcoming interactive action, which thereby promotes the discrimination of social interaction in noisy environments. The social interaction processing activates three neural networks. The person-perception network is responsible for face and body perception, the action observation network engages in action recognition, and the mentalizing network is implicated in intention understanding. Among them, the person perception network is probably linked to representations of the global configuration of the interactive agents while the action observation network and the mentalizing network collectively support representations of the contingent actions of the interactive agents. It is also worth noting that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) plays a key role and may serve as a specialized node in the perception of social interaction. From the perspective of hierarchical processing, recent researchers highlighted the importance of the effective connectivity between relevant brain areas in different stages of the social interaction processing. Future studies are encouraged to explore the heritability and neural mechanism of the social interaction processing by combining various technological methods, and to elucidate the cognitive characteristics of the social interaction processing in patients with social-cognitive disorders, which may provide new insights into the diagnosis and intervention for social deficits.

Key words: social interaction, third-person perspective, configural processing, action contingency, brain mechanism