Social behaviors recruit multiple cognitive operations that require interactions between cortical and subcortical brain regions. Interareal synchrony may facilitate such interactions between cortical and subcortical neural populations. However, it remains unknown how neurons from different nodes in the social brain network interact during social decision-making. Here we investigated oscillatory neuronal interactions between the basolateral amygdala and the rostral anterior cingulate gyrus of the medial prefrontal cortex while monkeys expressed context-dependent positive or negative other-regarding preference (ORP), whereby decisions affected the reward received by another monkey. Synchronization between the two nodes was enhanced for a positive ORP but suppressed for a negative ORP. These interactions occurred in beta and gamma frequency bands depending on the area contributing the spikes, exhibited a specific directionality of information flow associated with a positive ORP and could be used to decode social decisions. These findings suggest that specialized coordination in the medial prefrontal–amygdala network underlies social-decision preferences.
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Behavioral and neural data presented in this paper are available at https://github.com/changlabneuro/medial-prefrontal-amygdala-coordination-analyses.
Behavioral and neural data analysis codes central to this paper are available at https://github.com/changlabneuro/medial-prefrontal-amygdala-coordination-analyses.
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We are extremely grateful to B. Pesaran for his guidance on examining oscillatory neural processes throughout the duration of this research. We especially thank D. Lee and A. Kwan for their thoughtful discussions and suggestions on improving this work. We also thank A. Nair and S. Fan for insightful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH110750, R01MH120081, R21MH107853 and R00MH099093), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (FG-2015-66028) and the Teresa Seessel Postdoctoral Fellowship.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Dal Monte, O., Chu, C.C.J., Fagan, N.A. et al. Specialized medial prefrontal–amygdala coordination in other-regarding decision preference. Nat Neurosci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-020-0593-y