Social neuroscience

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Social interactions require monitoring others’ actions to optimally organise one’s own actions. Here, the authors show that the pathway from the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) to the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is causally involved in monitoring observed, but not executed, actions.

    • Taihei Ninomiya
    • , Atsushi Noritake
    •  & Masaki Isoda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The rhesus macaque is an important model species in several branches of science, but the utility of this model would be enhanced by the ability to measure behaviour throughout pose. Here, the authors describe a deep learning-based markerless motion capture system for estimating 3D pose in freely moving macaques.

    • Praneet C. Bala
    • , Benjamin R. Eisenreich
    •  & Jan Zimmermann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Working in military structures implies a reduction in individual autonomy, in which agents must comply with hierarchical orders. Here, the authors show that working within such a structure is associated with a reduced sense of agency and outcome processing for junior cadets, but this relationship is absent in trained officers.

    • Emilie A. Caspar
    • , Salvatore Lo Bue
    •  & Axel Cleeremans
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The human brain can simulate other people’s mental processes with Self-specific and Other-specific neural circuits, but it is not known how these circuits emerge. Here, the authors show that these circuits adapt to social experience, to determine whether a computation is attributed to Self or Other.

    • Sam Ereira
    • , Tobias U. Hauser
    •  & Zeb Kurth-Nelson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The roots of psychopathology take shape during adverse parent-infant interactions, shown through infant attachment quality. Using rodents, the authors show that blunted infant cortical processing of the mother determines attachment quality through a stress hormone-dependent mechanism.

    • Maya Opendak
    • , Emma Theisen
    •  & Regina M. Sullivan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Neuronal populations in the temporal cortex fire show increased activity in response to face stimuli. Here, the authors show using human intracranial recordings that face perception involves anatomically discrete but temporally distributed response profiles in the human ventral temporal cortex.

    • Jessica Schrouff
    • , Omri Raccah
    •  & Josef Parvizi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    People can experience a wide variety of emotions, and how the brain represents these varying affective states is a matter of debate. Here the authors show that coding mechanisms of emotions in right temporo-parietal cortex resemble those of low-level stimulus features in primary sensory regions.

    • Giada Lettieri
    • , Giacomo Handjaras
    •  & Luca Cecchetti
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The brain mechanisms underlying cooperation within groups, while balancing individual and collective interests, are poorly understood. Here, the authors identify the neurocomputations engaged in social dilemmas requiring strategic decisions during repeated social interactions in groups.

    • Seongmin A. Park
    • , Mariateresa Sestito
    •  & Jean-Claude Dreher
  • Article
    | Open Access

    We tend to be more trusting of people who we know to be honest. Here, the authors show using fMRI that honesty-based trustworthiness is represented in the posterior cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and intraparietal sulcus, and predicts subsequent trust decisions.

    • Gabriele Bellucci
    • , Felix Molter
    •  & Soyoung Q. Park
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Social life requires us to store information about each person’s unique disposition. Here, the authors show that the brain represents people as the sums of the mental states that those people are believed to experience.

    • Mark A. Thornton
    • , Miriam E. Weaverdyck
    •  & Diana I. Tamir
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The brain can represent the mental states of others, as well as those of the self. Here, the authors show that social brain manifests more distinct activity patterns when thinking about one's own states, compared to those of others, suggesting that we represent our own mind with greater granularity.

    • Mark A. Thornton
    • , Miriam E. Weaverdyck
    •  & Diana I. Tamir
  • Article
    | Open Access

    People’s early experiences and dispositions influence their ability to show and feel empathy. Here, using a sample of children exposed to war-related trauma, the authors examine how parenting, temperament, anxiety, and adversity affect the maturation of neural responses associated with empathy.

    • Jonathan Levy
    • , Abraham Goldstein
    •  & Ruth Feldman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors show that individuals apply different ‘moral strategies’ in interpersonal decision-making. These strategies are linked to distinct patterns of neural activity, even when they produce the same choice outcomes, illuminating how distinct moral principles can guide social behavior.

    • Jeroen M. van Baar
    • , Luke J. Chang
    •  & Alan G. Sanfey
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in reproductive and social behavior, but the role of oxytocin-related genes in the human brain remains unclear. Here, the authors map oxytocin pathway gene expression and show that it overlaps with brain regions involved in reward and emotional states.

    • Daniel S. Quintana
    • , Jaroslav Rokicki
    •  & Lars T. Westlye
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although the CA2 region of the hippocampus has been implicated in social memory, its precise role has been unclear. Here, the authors show that the dorsal subregion of CA2 is required for the encoding, consolidation and recall of social memory through a circuit linking it to ventral CA1.

    • Torcato Meira
    • , Felix Leroy
    •  & Steven A. Siegelbaum
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Loneliness markedly increases mortality and morbidity, yet the factors triggering loneliness remain largely unknown. This study shows that sleep loss leads to a neurobehavioral phenotype of human social separation and loneliness, one that is transmittable to non-sleep-deprived individuals.

    • Eti Ben Simon
    •  & Matthew P. Walker
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Strong positive and strong negative reciprocators reward cooperation and punish defection, respectively, regardless of future benefits. Here, Weber and colleagues demonstrate that dispositions towards strong positive and strong negative reciprocity are not correlated within individuals.

    • Till O. Weber
    • , Ori Weisel
    •  & Simon Gächter
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Though adults’ brains process the internal states of others’ bodies versus others’ minds in distinct brain regions, it is not clear when this functional dissociation emerges. Here, authors study 3–12 year olds and show that these networks are distinct by age 3 and become even more distinct with age.

    • Hilary Richardson
    • , Grace Lisandrelli
    •  & Rebecca Saxe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Though we are often friends with people similar to ourselves, it is unclear if neural responses to perceptual stimuli are also similar. Here, authors show that the similarity of neural responses evoked by a range of videos was highest for close friends and decreased with increasing social distance.

    • Carolyn Parkinson
    • , Adam M. Kleinbaum
    •  & Thalia Wheatley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Though it's important to influence others' decisions, the neural correlates of persuasive strategies are not known. Here, authors show that people change their advice based on its accuracy and whether they are being listened to, and identify the distinct brain regions underpinning each strategy.

    • Uri Hertz
    • , Stefano Palminteri
    •  & Bahador Bahrami
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While oxytocin is known to be critical for social recognition, the functions of oxytocin receptors (Oxtrs) in the hippocampus are not known. This study shows that Oxtrs in anterior dentate gyrus and CA2/CA3 pyramidal cells recruit population-based coding to mediate discrimination of social stimuli.

    • Tara Raam
    • , Kathleen M. McAvoy
    •  & Amar Sahay
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Generous behaviour increases happiness, but the neural underpinnings of this link are unknown. Here, authors show that promising to be generous changes the neural response in the temporo-parietal junction, and that the connection between this region and the ventral striatum was related to happiness.

    • Soyoung Q. Park
    • , Thorsten Kahnt
    •  & Philippe N. Tobler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Though humans often learn about negative outcomes from observing the response of others, the neurochemistry underlying this learning is unknown. Here, authors show that blocking opioid receptors enhances social threat learning and describe the brain regions underlying this effect.

    • Jan Haaker
    • , Jonathan Yi
    •  & Andreas Olsson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    At age 4, children start understanding other peoples' false beliefs, but the related neuroanatomical changes are unknown. Here, authors show that false belief understanding is associated with age-related changes in white matter structure, and that this effect is independent of other cognitive abilities.

    • Charlotte Grosse Wiesmann
    • , Jan Schreiber
    •  & Angela D. Friederici
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Black individuals are racially stereotyped as threatening but how bodily signals may affect these misperceptions is not known. Here Azevedo and colleagues show that these race-driven responses are affected by the cardiac cycle, being more biased when arterial baroreceptor activation is maximal.

    • Ruben T. Azevedo
    • , Sarah N. Garfinkel
    •  & Manos Tsakiris
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Humans can learn alone or by watching others, strategies which may depend on similar or different neural networks. This study shows that people watching other players in a card game used computations in neurons of their rostral anterior cingulate cortex to learn through observation.

    • Michael R. Hill
    • , Erie D. Boorman
    •  & Itzhak Fried
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Comparing oneself to others is inherently human but exactly how social comparison affects one's emotional state is unclear. Here the authors demonstrate that unequal social outcomes decrease happiness and these emotional impacts are proportional to individual levels of generosity.

    • Robb B. Rutledge
    • , Archy O. de Berker
    •  & Raymond J. Dolan
  • Article |

    Physical pain and social rejection are believed to be processed by common neural substrates in the brain. Here Woo et al.combine brain imaging with pattern analysis to show that, in fact, pain and rejection are processed by distinct neural substrates that are located in similar anatomical brain regions.

    • Choong-Wan Woo
    • , Leonie Koban
    •  & Tor D. Wager
  • Article |

    It is generally assumed that a person’s cooperative behaviour is consistent, but direct evidence is lacking. Here, the authors show consistent patterns of an individual’s behaviour both in different cooperation games and through time, suggesting that an individual's cooperative behaviour is general and stable.

    • Alexander Peysakhovich
    • , Martin A. Nowak
    •  & David G. Rand
  • Article |

    The evolutionary foundation of human prosociality remains poorly understood. Here, the authors show that extensive allomaternal care is the best predictor of prosocial behaviour among 15 primate species, including humans, which suggests that prosocial motivations arise along with cooperative breeding.

    • J. M. Burkart
    • , O. Allon
    •  & C. P. van Schaik
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Encephalographic brain recordings are often used to characterize neuronal dynamics at the network level in relation to specific behaviours. Here, Dmochowski et al. show that neural activity from a few individuals viewing popular media can predict population-level neural activity in thousands of individuals.

    • Jacek P. Dmochowski
    • , Matthew A. Bezdek
    •  & Lucas C. Parra
  • Article |

    Connectivity between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the amygdala (AMY) is implicated in responses to stress and regulation of affect. Here, the authors show that stress is regulated by changes in PFC–AMY coherence, PFC oscillatory activity and AMY oscillatory activity across the 2–7 Hz frequency band.

    • Sunil Kumar
    • , Rainbo Hultman
    •  & Kafui Dzirasa
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Social intelligence requires the understanding of third-party relations, which is known to occur in humans and primates. Here, Massen et al.show that ravens respond differently to sound recordings of dominance interactions between other ravens, suggesting that ravens also understand third-party relations.

    • Jorg J. M. Massen
    • , Andrius Pašukonis
    •  & Thomas Bugnyar
  • Article |

    Whether or not intuition favours cooperative decision making has been controversial. Rand et al.carry out a meta-analysis of 15 studies involving volunteers playing economic games, and confirm a role for intuition in cooperation, which varies according to the volunteers’ previous experience with similar games.

    • David G. Rand
    • , Alexander Peysakhovich
    •  & Joshua D. Greene
  • Article |

    Social learning is crucial to the evolutionary success of humans. Here, the authors evaluate social learning strategies in a sample of human subjects and find that some individuals imitate the behaviours of their most successful peers, while others conform to the behaviour of the majority.

    • Lucas Molleman
    • , Pieter van den Berg
    •  & Franz J. Weissing
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Human neuronal activity during cognitive processing is usually studied under experimental conditions but activity under natural conditions is poorly understood. Here the authors develop a method to accurately characterize the activity of the same neuronal population under both conditions.

    • Mohammad Dastjerdi
    • , Muge Ozker
    •  & Josef Parvizi
  • Article |

    Quantification of the behavioural phenotype of animals within a group requires simultaneous position and identity tracking of multiple individuals. Here the authors report an automated tracking system that combines video- and RFID-tracking data and allows behavioural phenotyping of uniquely identified group-living animals.

    • Aharon Weissbrod
    • , Alexander Shapiro
    •  & Tali Kimchi
  • Article |

    Humans routinely socially evaluate other people based on interactions between third parties. Anderson and colleagues show that capuchin monkeys also negatively evaluate humans who explicitly refuse to help others.

    • James R. Anderson
    • , Hika Kuroshima
    •  & Kazuo Fujita
  • Article |

    The ability to delay gratification in childhood correlates with the ability to exert self-control in adulthood. Berman and colleagues re-examine individuals that were studied 40 years ago and find that the individuals who are able to exert a high level of self-control have more efficient neural networks.

    • Marc G. Berman
    • , Grigori Yourganov
    •  & John Jonides