Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 557–566 | Cite as

On Social Attribution: Implications of Recent Cognitive Neuroscience Research for Race, Law, and Politics

  • Darren Schreiber
Original Paper


Interpreting the world through a social lens is a central characteristic of human cognition. Humans ascribe intentions to the behaviors of other individuals and groups. Humans also make inferences about others’ emotional and mental states. This capacity for social attribution underlies many of the concepts at the core of legal and political systems. The developing scientific understanding of the neural mechanisms used in social attribution may alter many earlier suppositions. However, just as often, these new methods will lead back to old conundrums. Cognitive neuroscience will not dispel the hard problems of social judgment.


Social attribution Theory of mind Mirror neurons Racial attitudes Neurolaw Neuropolitics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central European UniversityBudapestHungary

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