Social Network Analysis for Social Neuroscientists

Although social neuroscience is concerned with understanding how the brain interacts with its social environment, prevailing research in the field has primarily considered the human brain in isolation, deprived of its rich social context. Emerging work in social neuroscience that leverages tools from network analysis has begun to pursue this issue, advancing knowledge of how the human brain influences and is influenced by the structures of its social environment. In this paper, we provide an overview of key theory and methods in network analysis (especially for social systems) as an introduction for social neuroscientists who are interested in relating individual cognition to the structures of an individual’s social environments. We also highlight some exciting new work as examples of how to productively use these tools to investigate questions of relevance to social neuroscientists. We include tutorials to help with practical implementation of the concepts that we discuss. We conclude by highlighting the broad range of exciting research opportunities for social neuroscientists who are interested in using network analysis to study social systems.


Baek, Elisa, Mason A. Porter, and Carolyn Parkinson. 2019. “Social Network Analysis for Social Neuroscientists.” PsyArXiv. September 26. doi:10.31234/