Showing posts from November, 2013

The benefits of social cognition vs the benefits of task-focused processing

In Social: why our brains are wired to connect  (also read this post ), Matt Lieberman explains that, within our brains there are two quite distinct neural systems for respectively social and non-social thinking. These two systems appear to be antagonistic in the sense that when one of the two is very active, the other is largely inactive. In addition to this he explains that whenever a person is focused on a specific task the non-social system is turned on and as soon as the person stops focusing on the task, his or her social system will turn on. Because this neural system becomes active as soon as one finishes a specific task, it is called the default nework. It seems that when we are not focusing on a specific task we are not doing nothing. We are engaged in social cognition, in other words, thinking about other people and our relationships with them. Lieberman writes: