The human mind operates at the junction of two vastly different worlds. Behind our eyes exists the world of the self, a buzzing internal mental life filled with thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that together define our unique perspectives. Beyond our eyes exists the external world, a vast physical environment itself replete with other people, each one also buzzing with his or her own internal mental life. How does our mind bridge these two worlds?
At the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab, we study the thoughts, cognitive processes, and behaviors that occur at the place where our internal world meets the external social world. We employ methods like functional neuroimaging, machine learning, and behavioral experiments to gain empirical insights into questions about the self and the social world.
Ongoing research questions include: How does our mind transcend the here-and-now to think about other peoples’ minds? How do we predict how other people are going to feel or act in the future? How does simulating others change a person’s sense of self? Can reading fiction improve the ability to think about others’ minds? Why do people self-disclose—or share information about themselves with others—so frequently? What are the social, hedonic, and cognitive consequences of sharing our lives on the internet and social media?
- Thornton, M.A., Weaverdyck, M.E, Tamir, D.I. (2019). The social brain automatically predicts others’ future mental states. Journal of Neuroscience, 39(1), 140-148.
- Meyer, M., Waytz, A.G., Hershfield, H.E., Mildner, J., Tamir, D.I. (2019). Creative expertise is associated with transcending the here and now. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
- Mildner, J., Tamir, D.I. (2019). Spontaneous thought as an unconstrained memory process. Trends in Neuroscience.
- Tamir, D.I., Hughes, B.L. (2018). Social Rewards: From basic social building blocks to complex social behavior. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(6), 700-717.
- Tamir, D.I., Thornton, M.A. (2018). Modeling the predictive social mind. Trends in Cognitive Science, 22(3), 201-212.