This article focuses on one of the most influential contributions of Daniel Stern: the notion of forms of vitality (FVs). We summarize how fruitful this notion is for social cognition and for the study of its neural bases. We argue that FVs enable one to shed new light on the elements making others' behavior meaningful to one, thus offering a new take on social cognition. We also show how the notion of FVs can be usefully employed to study the bodily roots of social cognition deficits in individuals affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the beginning of his last book, Forms of Vitality (2010), Daniel Stern wrote: We naturally experience people in terms of their vitality. We intuitively evaluate their emotions, states of mind, what they are thinking and what they really mean, their authenticity, what they are likely to do next, as well as their health and illness on the basis of the vitality expressed in their almost constant movements. The time-based arts, namely music, dance, theater, and cinema, move us by the expressions of vitality that resonate in us. [2010, pp. 3-4] In this article, we discuss the topic of forms of vitality from a neuroscientific perspective. We argue that this insightful notion, already proposed by Stern in 1985, enables us to shed new light on the elements making others' behavior meaningful to us, thus offering a new take on social cognition. We report recent brain imaging results demonstrating the putative neural bases of our capacity to produce and recognize forms of vitality in others' behavior. We also show how forms of vitality can be fruitfully employed to study social cognition deficits in individuals affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Forms of Vitality: Their Neural Bases, Their Role in Social Cognition, and the Case of Autism Spectrum Disorder / Gallese, Vittorio; Rochat, Magali J.. - In: PSYCHOANALYTIC INQUIRY. - ISSN 0735-1690. - 38:2(2018), pp. 154-164. [10.1080/07351690.2018.1405672]
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