Article Information

INCORPORATION OF THE IDEAS OF NEUROSCIENCE INTO SOCIOLOGY: HOW TO OVERCOME THE GAP BETWEEN “BIOLOGICAL” AND “SOCIAL”?

Yulia S. Shkurko (yushkurko@yandex.ru)

Institute of Economics and Entrepreneurship, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Citation:Shkurko Y.S. (2017) Inkorporirovaniye idey neyronauki v sotsiologiyu: kak preodolet' razryv mezhdu ‘biogicheskim’ i ‘sotsial'nym’? [Incorporation of the Ideas of Neuroscience into Sociology: How to Overcome the Gap between “Biological” and “Social”?] Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(2): 22-39 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2017.20.2.2

Full Text (PDF)

Abstract. The author considered biophobia, i.e. avoidance of including of biological variables in sociological theories, as a main obstacle to the development of a new research area— neurosociology. Biophobia is associated with Durkheim’s methodological principle of sociologism which requires that one social fact needs to be explained by others and legitimates exclusive role of social factors in human life. In recent years sociologists discuss causes of biophobia: poor knowledge of neurobiology, genetics, neurology, neuroscience, and cognitive science; moral and political consequences of the recognition of biological nature of social behavior, and some others. The author analyzed the main ways of the incorporation of the ideas of neuroscience into sociology, such as (i) conviction of the usefulness of the methods from neuroscience in the development of sociology; (ii) integration of sociological and neuroscientific ideas concerning the same issues (mirror neurons and mutual understanding, imitation, social role taking, and others); (iii) correction of classical sociological concepts (e.g., symbolic interactionism) in the light of relevant findings of neuroscience, and (iv) neurosociological studies (on social identity and other issues) applying both neuroscientific (e.g., EEG) and sociological (e.g., survey) methods. To overcome the gap between “biological” and “social” we need to tolerate such interdisciplinary attempts, discuss origin and the causes of biophobia, develop critical attitudes towards sociological conceptions ignoring relevant ideas from neuroscience, as well as correct the standards of sociological studies and educational curriculum.

Keywords: neurosociology, biophobia, neuroscience methods, mirror neurons, symbolic interactionism, self, social identity

References

Bazhanov V.A. (2017) The Idea of Neurosociology in Contemporary Social Thought. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological studies], 4: 23–29 (in Russian).

Bogen J.E., Dezure R., Tenhouten W.D., and Marsh J.F., Jr. (1972) The Other Side of the Brain IV. The A/P ratio. Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Societies, 37(2): 49–61.

Burton R. (2016) Razum vs mozg: Razgovor na raznykh yazykakh [Mind vs Brain: The conversation in Different Languages]. Moscow: ‘E’ publ., 2016 (in Russian).

Cacioppo J.T. (2002) Social Neuroscience: Understanding the Pieces Fosters Understanding the Whole and Vice Versa. American Sociologist, 57(11): 819–83.

Dehaene S., Sergent C. and Changeux J.-P. (2003) A Neuronal Network Model Linking Subjective Reports and Objective Physiological Data during Conscious Perception. PNAS, 100(14): 8520–8525.

Ellis L. (1996) A Discipline in Peril: Sociology’s Future Hinges on Curing Its Biophobia. American Sociologist, 27: 21–41.

Franks D.D. (2010) Neurosociology. The Nexus between Neuroscience and Social Psychology. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Franks D.D. & Eisenberg A.F. (2008) Teaching Neurosociology. Evolution and Sociology. Newsletter of the ASA Section on Evolution and Sociology, 5 (1): 3–7.

Franks D.D. (2013) A Short History. In: Handbook of Neurosociology. Ed. by D.D. Franks and J.H. Turner. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Franks D.D., Turner J.H. (ed.) (2013) Handbook of Neurosociology. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Freese J., Li Jui-Chung A. and Wade L.D. (2003) The Potential Relevances of Biology to Social Inquiry Source. Annual Review of Sociology, 29: 233–256.

Gazzaniga M.S. (1989) Organization of the Human Brain. Science. New Series, 245, 4921, (Sep. 1): 947–952.

Hillyard S.A. (2010) Interhemispheric Cooperation Following Brain Bisection. In: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Mind. A Tribute to Michael S. Gazzaniga. Ed. by P.A. Reuter-Lorenz, K. Baynes, G.R. Mangun, E.A. Phelps. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Iacoboni M., Molnar-Szakacs I., Gallese V., Buccino G., Mazziotta J.C., et al. (2005) Grasping the Intentions of Others with One’s Own Mirror Neuron System. PLoS Biol, 3(3): e79: 0529–0535.

Inglis D. and Bone J. (2006) Boundary Maintenance, Border Crossing and the Nature/Culture Divide. European Journal of Social Theory, 9 (2): 272–287.

Kalkhoff W., Serpe R.T., Pollock J., Miller B. and Pfeiffer M. (2016b) Self-Motives and the Neural Processing of Identity-Relevant Feedback: An Electroencephalographic Study. In: New Directions in Identity Theory and Research. Ed. by J.E. Stets and R.T. Serpe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kalkhoff W., Thye S.R. and Pollock J. (2016a) Developments in Neurosociology. Sociology Compass, 10(3): 242–258.

Libet B., Pearl D.K., Morledge D.E., Gleason C.A., Hosobuchi Y., and Barbaro N.M. (1991) Control of the Transition from Sensory Detection to Sensory Awareness in Man by the Duration of a Thalamic Stimulus: the Cerebral ‘Time-on’ Factor. Brain, 114: 1731–1757.

Massey D.S. (2000) What I don’t Know about my Field but Wish I did. Annual Review of Sociology, 26: 699–701.

Massey D.S. (2013) Preface. In: Handbook of Neurosociology. Ed. by D.D. Franks and J.H. Turner. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Massey D.S. A Brief History of Human Society: The Origin and Role of Emotions in Social Life. American Sociological Review, 2002, 67: 1–29.

Mead G.H. (1972) Mind, Self & Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Newton T. (2016) The Turn to Biology. The Sociological Review Monographs, 64(1): 117–133.

Rizzolatti G. and Singigalia C. (2008) Mirrors in the brain: How our minds share actions and emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shkurko A.V. (2011) On the Way to Neurosociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological studies], 4: 13–22 (in Russian).

Shkurko Y.S. (2013) The Compatibility between Sociological and Cognitive Neuroscientific Ideas on Consciousness: Is a Neurosociology of Consciousness Possible? Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 47 (1): 123–141.

Shkurko Y.S. In Search of Neurosociology (2017) Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological studies], 8: 3–11 (in Russian).

Slanevskaya N. (2012) Mozg, myshleniye i obshchestvo [Brain, Mind, and Society]. Saint-Petersburg (in Russian).

Soon C.S., Brass M., Heinze H.-J. and Haynes J.-D. (2008) Unconscious Determinants of Free Decisions in the Human Brain. Nature Neuroscience, 11(5): 543–545.

Tononi G., Edelman G.M., Sporns O. (1998) Complexity and Coherency: Integrating Information in the Brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2 (12): 474–484.

Turner J. (2004) How I Became, to My Great Surprise, a Bio-sociologist. Evolution and Sociology. Newsletter of the ASA Section on Evolution and Sociology, 1 (1): 2–7.

Turner S. (2007) Social Theory as a Cognitive Neuroscience. European Journal of Social Theory, 10(3): 357–374.

VanRullen R. and Koch C. (2003) Is Perception Discrete or Continuous? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(5): 207–213

Zimmer C. (2005) The Neurobiology of the Self. Scientific American, 293: 92–101.