Toward a hierarchical model of social cognition: A neuroimaging meta-analysis and integrative review of empathy and theory of mind.

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Matthias Schurz - , University of Oxford, Radboud University Nijmegen, University of Salzburg (Author)
  • Joaquim Radua - , August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute, King's College London (KCL), Karolinska Institutet (Author)
  • Matthias G. Tholen - , University of Salzburg (Author)
  • Lara Maliske - , Chair of Clinical Psychology an Behavioral Neuroscience (Author)
  • Daniel S. Margulies - , French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) (Author)
  • Rogier B. Mars - , University of Oxford, Radboud University Nijmegen (Author)
  • Jerome Sallet - , University of Oxford, Université de Lyon (Author)
  • Philipp Kanske - , Chair of Clinical Psychology an Behavioral Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Author)


Along with the increased interest in and volume of social cognition research, there has been higher awareness of a lack of agreement on the concepts and taxonomy used to study social processes. Two central concepts in the field, empathy and Theory of Mind (ToM), have been identified as overlapping umbrella terms for different processes of limited convergence. Here, we review and integrate evidence of brain activation, brain organization, and behavior into a coherent model of social-cognitive processes. We start with a meta-analytic clustering of neuroimaging data across different social-cognitive tasks. 


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-327
Number of pages35
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021

External IDs

PubMed 33151703
ORCID /0000-0003-2906-7471/work/142257929


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • emotion, mentalizing, mirror neurons, perspective taking, social cognition

Library keywords