D. Bolis, G. Dumas, L. Schilbach
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publication year: 2022


In this article, we analyse social interactions, drawing on diverse points of views, ranging from dialectics, second-person neuroscience and enactivism to dynamical systems, active inference and machine learning. To this end, we define interpersonal attunement as a set of multi-scale processes of building up and materializing social expectations—put simply, anticipating and interacting with others and ourselves. While cultivating and negotiating common ground, via communication and culture-building activities, are indispensable for the survival of the individual, the relevant multi-scale mechanisms have been largely considered in isolation. Here, collective psychophysiology, we argue, can lend itself to the fine-tuned analysis of social interactions, without neglecting the individual. On the other hand, an interpersonal mismatch of expectations can lead to a breakdown of communication and social isolation known to negatively affect mental health. In this regard, we review psychopathology in terms of interpersonal misattunement, conceptualizing psychiatric disorders as disorders of social interaction, to describe how individual mental health is inextricably linked to social interaction. By doing so, we foresee avenues for an inter-personalized psychiatry, which moves from a static spectrum of disorders to a dynamic relational space, focusing on how the multi-faceted processes of social interaction can help to promote mental health.

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