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Social Neuroscience

Inez M Greven, Paul E Downing, Richard Ramsey
Body shape cues inferences regarding personality and health, but the neural processes underpinning such inferences remain poorly understood. Across two fMRI experiments, we test the extent to which neural networks associated with body perception and theory-of-mind (ToM) support social inferences based on body shape. Participants observed obese, muscular, and slim bodies that cued distinct social inferences as pilot experiments revealed. To investigate judgment intentionality, the first fMRI experiment required participants to detect repeat presentations of bodies, whereas in fMRI Experiment 2 participants intentionally formed an impression...
March 9, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Alexandra E D'Agostino, David Kattan, Turhan Canli
Loneliness, the subjective experience of social isolation, may reflect, in part, underlying neural processing of social signals. Aging may exacerbate loneliness due to decreased social networks and increased social isolation, or it may reduce loneliness due to preferential attentional processing of positive information and increased interactions with emotionally close partners. Here, we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of loneliness in younger (N = 50, 26 female, Mage = 20.4) and older (N = 49, 30 female, Mage = 62...
February 23, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Alexander Prehn-Kristensen, Anna Lorenzen, Fabian Grabe, Lioba Baving
Deficits in facial affect recognition (FAR) are often reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) due to inappropriate visual search strategies. It is unclear, however, whether or not deficits in subliminal FAR are still present in autism when visual focus is controlled. Thirteen persons with ASD and 13 healthy participants took part in this experiment. Supraliminal FAR was assessed using a standardized, computer-aided test. Subliminal FAR was obtained by an emotional face priming paradigm. By using an eye-tracking technique, it was assured that the initial visual focus was on the eyes of the prime...
February 16, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Kirsten Arnett, Alexandra Roach, Meredith Elzy, Laura Jelsone-Swain
Empathy is a critical aspect of social behavior, and impairment in empathic processing is linked to hindered social interactions and several disorders. Despite much interest in this topic, our understanding of the developmental and neural involvement for empathic processing is limited. Recent evidence suggests the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) may play a role in this behavior, and that mu rhythm suppression found over the sensorimotor cortices may be a proxy for the MNS. Therefore, we aimed to measure mu rhythm oscillations in response to empathic processing during observation of painful action-based situations using electroencephalogram (EEG)...
February 16, 2018: Social Neuroscience
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February 7, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Chris Blais, Derek M Ellis, Kimberly M Wingert, Adam B Cohen, Gene A Brewer
Decisions to trust help form the basis of relationships and society yet little is known about their neurophysiology. We told participants they were playing a coin toss game with a trustworthy and an untrustworthy person and measured their neural activity with EEG as they decided whether to trust those fictitious interaction partners. Target people ostensibly correctly reported the outcome of a coin toss on 66% of trials. Behaviorally, participants probability matched and chose to trust the reported coin flips from each profile equally by the end of 100 trials...
January 30, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Michael Adamaszek, Federico D'Agata, Christopher J Steele, Bernhard Sehm, Cornelia Schoppe, Karl Strecker, Hartwig Woldag, Horst Hummelsheim, Ken C Kirkby
Introduction Research indicates that widespread cortical-subcortical networks are involved in the recognition and discrimination of emotional contents of facial and vocal expression. The cerebellum and basal ganglia are two subcortical regions implicated in these networks but evidence as to their specific contributions is limited. To investigate this we compared patients with circumscribed cerebellar lesions and patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) on a range of neuropsychological measures, we studied subjects of both clinical entities by an approved test battery...
January 29, 2018: Social Neuroscience
David S Chester, C Nathan DeWall
Intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration is often preceded by perceived interpersonal provocations such as slights, insults, and rejections. Yet the neural mechanisms that link provocation to IPV remain unclear. In the context of interactions with strangers, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) has been repeatedly shown to respond to provocation, with more dorsal activation associated with more aggressive reactions and more ventral activation associated with less aggressive reactions. We used functional brain imaging to test whether this dorsal-ventral MPFC reactivity gradient would also correlate with greater aggression towards an unexamined target: intimate partners...
January 19, 2018: Social Neuroscience
R Pasion, C Fernandes, A R Gonçalves, F Ferreira-Santos, R Páscoa, F Barbosa, J Marques-Teixeira
Despite the accumulated knowledge on moral decision-making in the early stages of development, empirical evidence is still limited in the old-aged adults. The current study contributes to unveil the neural correlates of judgments of moral transgressions as a function of aging, by examining the temporal dynamics of neural activation elicited by intentional and accidental harmful actions in three groups of healthy participants: young adults (18-35), adults (40-55), and older adults (60-75). Older adults were slower and less accurate in rating intentionality, compared to the younger groups...
January 18, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Sofi da Cunha-Bang, Patrick M Fisher, Liv V Hjordt, Klaus Holst, Gitte M Knudsen
Facial expressions robustly activate the amygdala, a brain structure playing a critical role in aggression. Whereas previous studies suggest that amygdala reactivity is related to various measures of impulsive aggression, we here estimate a composite measure of impulsive aggression and evaluate whether it is associated with amygdala reactivity to angry and fearful faces. We estimated amygdala reactivity with functional magnetic resonance imaging in 47 men with varying degree of aggressive traits (19 incarcerated violent offenders and 28 healthy controls)...
January 7, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Angela N Maupin, Helena J V Rutherford, Nicole Landi, Marc N Potenza, Linda C Mayes
Understanding the maternal neural response to infant affective cues has important implications for parent-child relationships. The current study employed event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine patterns in mothers' responses to infant affective cues, and evaluated the influence of maternal experience, defined by parity (i.e., the number of children a mother has) on ERP responses. Eighty-three mothers, three months postpartum, viewed photographs of displays of infant emotional faces (sad or happy) and listened to infant cries of different distress levels and a control tone...
January 2, 2018: Social Neuroscience
Neal McNeal, Eden M Anderson, Deirdre Moenk, Diane Trahanas, Leslie Matuszewich, Angela J Grippo
Animal models have shown that social isolation and other forms of social stress lead to depressive- and anxiety-relevant behaviors, as well as neuroendocrine and physiological dysfunction. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of prior social isolation on neurotransmitter content following acute restraint in prairie voles. Animals were either paired with a same-sex sibling or isolated for 4 weeks. Plasma adrenal hormones and ex vivo tissue concentrations of monoamine neurotransmitters and their metabolites were measured following an acute restraint stressor in all animals...
April 2018: Social Neuroscience
Yanbing Zhao, Qing Sun, Gang Chen, Jiongjiong Yang
Previous studies have shown that the amygdala is more involved in processing animate categories, such as humans and animals, than inanimate objects, but little is known regarding whether this animate advantage applies to auditory stimuli. To address this issue, we performed a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study with emotion and category as factors, in which subjects heard sounds from different categories (i.e., humans, animals, and objects) in negative and neutral dimensions. Emotional levels and semantic familiarity were matched across categories...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Michael A Ferguson, Jared A Nielsen, Jace B King, Li Dai, Danielle M Giangrasso, Rachel Holman, Julie R Korenberg, Jeffrey S Anderson
High-level cognitive and emotional experience arises from brain activity, but the specific brain substrates for religious and spiritual euphoria remain unclear. We demonstrate using functional magnetic resonance imaging scans in 19 devout Mormons that a recognizable feeling central to their devotional practice was reproducibly associated with activation in nucleus accumbens, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and frontal attentional regions. Nucleus accumbens activation preceded peak spiritual feelings by 1-3 s and was replicated in four separate tasks...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Nichol M L Wong, Patcy P S Yeung, Tatia M C Lee
Loneliness is prevalent in adolescents. Although it can be a normative experience, children and adolescents who experience loneliness are often at risk for anxiety, depression, and suicide. Research efforts have been made to identify the neurobiological basis of such distressful feelings in our social brain. In adolescents, the social brain is still undergoing significant development, which may contribute to their increased and differential sensitivity to the social environment. Many behavioral studies have shown the significance of attachment security and social skills in adolescents' interactions with the social world...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Ramzi Fatfouta, Dar Meshi, Angela Merkl, Hauke R Heekeren
Conflict is a ubiquitous feature of interpersonal relationships, yet many of these relationships preserve their value following conflict. Our ability to refrain from punishment despite the occurrence of conflict is a characteristic of human beings. Using a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques, we show that prosocial decision-making is modulated by relationship closeness. In an iterated social exchange, participants were more likely to cooperate with their partner compared to an unknown person by accepting unfair exchanges...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Alexis C Carpenter, Anne C Krendl
Eyewitness testimony has been shown to be unreliable and susceptible to false memories. Whether eyewitness memory errors are influenced by the victim's group membership (relative to both the eyewitness and perpetrator) is underexplored. The current study used complementary behavioral and neuroimaging approaches to test the hypothesis that intragroup conflict heightens participants' susceptibility to subsequent false memories. Healthy young adults witnessed and later answered questions about events in which the perpetrator and victim were either 1) identified as in-group members relative to each other and the eyewitness, 2) out-group members relative to the eyewitness, but not each other, or 3) out-group members relative to each other (Experiments 1a and 1b)...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Xiaobin Zhang, Qiong Li, Shan Sun, Bin Zuo
Social categorization is the foundation of stereotype activation, and the process from social categorization to stereotype activation is rapid. However, the time from social categorization to stereotype activation is unknown. This study involves a real-time measurement of the time course of gender-stereotype activation beginning with gender categorization using event-related potential technology with a face as the priming stimulus. We found that 195 ms after a face stimulus was presented, brain waves stimulated by male or female gender categorization showed a clear separation, with male faces stimulating larger N200 waves...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Katherine K M Stavropoulos, Michaela Viktorinova, Adam Naples, Jennifer Foss-Feig, James C McPartland
Difficulty with emotion perception is a core feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is also associated with the broader autism phenotype. The current study explored the neural underpinnings of conscious and nonconscious perceptions of affect in typically developing individuals with varying levels of autistic-like traits, as measured by the Autism Quotient (AQ). We investigated the relationship between autistic traits and face processing efficiency using event-related potentials (ERPs). In 20 typically developing adults, we utilized ERPs (the P100, N170, and P300) to measure differences in face processing for emotional faces that were presented either (a) too quickly to reach conscious awareness (16 ms) or (b) slowly enough to be consciously observed (200 ms)...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
Agustín Ibáñez, Adolfo M García, Sol Esteves, Adrián Yoris, Edinson Muñoz, Lucila Reynaldo, Marcos Luis Pietto, Federico Adolfi, Facundo Manes
Multiple disorders once jointly conceived as "nervous diseases" became segregated by the distinct institutional traditions forged in neurology and psychiatry. As a result, each field specialized in the study and treatment of a subset of such conditions. Here we propose new avenues for interdisciplinary interaction through a triangulation of both fields with social neuroscience. To this end, we review evidence from five relevant domains (facial emotion recognition, empathy, theory of mind, moral cognition, and social context assessment), highlighting their common disturbances across neurological and psychiatric conditions and discussing their multiple pathophysiological mechanisms...
February 2018: Social Neuroscience
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