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Journey to the Edges: Social Structures and Neural Maps of Intergroup Processes

Author(s): Fiske, Susan T.

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Abstract: This article explores boundaries of the intellectual map of intergroup processes, going to the macro (social structure) boundary and the micro (neural systems) boundary. Both are illustrated by with my own and others’ work on social structures and on neural structures related to intergroup processes. Analyzing the impact of social structures on intergroup processes led to insights about distinct forms of sexism and underlies current work on forms of ageism. The stereotype content model also starts with the social structure of intergroup relations (interdependence and status) and predicts images, emotions, and behaviors. Social structure has much to offer the social psychology of intergroup processes. At the other, less explored boundary, social neuroscience addresses the effects of social contexts on neural systems relevant to intergroup processes. Both social structural and neural analyses circle back to traditional social psychology as converging indicators of intergroup processes. Science requires change. As in a collective journey, the scientific itinerary entails progress, discoveries, delays, uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and sometimes discomfort. Individually, as scientists, our tolerance for disruption varies, but as a field, we must welcome it, and indeed discomfort can index innovation (Fiske, 2003). To be sure, we hold innovations to high standards—often higher than established paradigms, because as scientists we are skeptics, hence our differing thresholds for the old and the new. As a field, however, we must be willing to journey to the edges of our known world. Part of BJSP’s landmark series, this article explores some boundaries of the intellectual map of intergroup processes, illustrated by work with my own travel companions, but maybe also serving as a travelogue for potential fellow explorers.
Publication Date: Mar-2012
Electronic Publication Date: 21-Mar-2012
Citation: Fiske, Susan T. (2012). Journey to the edges: Social structures and neural maps of inter-group processes. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51 (1), 1 - 12. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02092.x
DOI: doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02092.x
ISSN: 0144-6665
Pages: 1 - 12
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: British Journal of Social Psychology
Version: Author's manuscript

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