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Social Neuroscience

Marion E Snowdon, Stuart Cathcart
Previous studies suggest the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is involved in processing of empathic concern. This has not been experimentally tested to date. We tested the hypotheses that electrical potentiation in the right DLPFC would be associated with increased empathic concern and prosocial behavior. Participants were randomly allocated to one of three transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) conditions: (a) relative right potentiation, (b) relative left potentiation, and (c) sham. Participants viewed images of African children in distressing circumstances, and completed measures of empathic concern pre- and post-tDCS manipulation...
January 2, 2017: 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 four 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...
December 23, 2016: Social Neuroscience
John T Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo, Richard E Petty
Persuasion, a prevalent form of social influence in humans, refers to an active attempt to change a person's attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. There is a growing literature on the neural correlates of persuasion. As is often the case in an emerging literature, however, there are a number of questions, concerns, and alternative interpretations that can be raised about the research and interpretations. We provide a critical review of the research, noting potential problems and issues that warrant attention to move the field forward...
December 22, 2016: 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...
December 10, 2016: 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...
November 29, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Xiaopei Xing, Meifang Wang, Zhengyan Wang
The current study examined the relationship among paternal and maternal corporal punishment (CP), children's executive function (EF), and children's externalizing behavior problems. In total, 328 Chinese preschool-aged children and their parents and teachers participated. Paternal and maternal CP was assessed by father-reports and by mother-reports, respectively. Children's EF was assessed by the Executive Function Touch program. Children's externalizing behavior problems were assessed by mother-reports and by teacher-reports...
November 21, 2016: 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)...
November 17, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Nichol M L Wong, Patcy 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...
November 7, 2016: 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...
November 4, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Richard A I Bethlehem, Carrie Allison, Emma M van Andel, Alexander I Coles, Kimberley Neil, Simon Baron-Cohen
Why do people act altruistically? One theory is that empathy is a driver of morality. Experimental studies of this are often confined to laboratory settings, which often lack ecological validity. In the present study we investigated whether empathy traits predict if people will act altruistically in a real-world setting, "in the wild". We staged a situation in public that was designed to elicit helping, and subsequently measured empathic traits in those who either stopped to help or walked past and did not help...
October 28, 2016: 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...
October 25, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Justin Chamberland, Annie Roy-Charland, Melanie Perron, Joël Dickinson
The perceptual-attentional limitation hypothesis posits that the confusion between emotional facial expressions of fear and surprise may be due to their visual similarity, with shared muscle movements. In Experiment 1 full face images of fear and surprise varying as a function of distinctiveness (mouth index, brow index or both indices) were displayed in a gender oddball task. Experiment 2, in a similar task, directed attention towards the eye or mouth region with a blurring technique. The current two studies used response time and event-related potentials (ERP) to test the perceptual-attentional limitation hypothesis...
October 21, 2016: Social Neuroscience
Brittany R Howell, Matthew S McMurray, Dora B Guzman, Govind Nair, Yundi Shi, Kai M McCormack, Xiaoping Hu, Martin A Styner, Mar M Sanchez
Maternal presence has a potent buffering effect on infant fear and stress responses in primates. We previously reported that maternal presence is not effective in buffering the endocrine stress response in infant rhesus monkeys reared by maltreating mothers. We have also reported that maltreating mothers show low maternal responsiveness and permissiveness/secure-base behavior. Although still not understood, it is possible that this maternal buffering effect is mediated, at least partially, through deactivation of amygdala response circuits when mothers are present...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Amanda M Dettmer, Lauren J Wooddell, Kendra L Rosenberg, Stefano S K Kaburu, Melinda A Novak, Jerrold S Meyer, Stephen J Suomi
Early life experience and socioeconomic status (SES) are well-established predictors of health outcomes in people. Both factors likely influence health outcomes via hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulation. However, it is unclear how early experience and HPA axis activity influence adult social status. We studied differentially reared female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta, N = 90) as models to test the hypothesis that chronic HPA axis activity assessed via hair cortisol concentrations (HCCs) mediated the relationship between early life experience and adult social rank...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Sanne J H van Rooij, Dorthie Cross, Jennifer S Stevens, L Alexander Vance, Ye Ji Kim, Bekh Bradley, Nim Tottenham, Tanja Jovanovic
Parental availability influences fear expression and learning across species, but the effect of maternal buffering on fear learning in humans is unknown. Here we investigated the effect of maternal availability during fear conditioning in a group of children (ages 8-10) and adolescents (ages 11-13) from a low-income population with a range of trauma exposure. Acoustic startle response data were collected to measure fear-potentiated startle (FPS) in 104 participants. A total of 62 participants were tested with the mother available and 42 when the mother was not in the testing room...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Jessica E Flannery, Kathryn G Beauchamp, Philip A Fisher
There is growing evidence that social support can buffer the physiological stress response, specifically cortisol reactivity. We use a developmental framework to review the importance of social buffering in early childhood, a period of heightened plasticity for programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The social environment, in which parents play the largest role in early life, is a critical agent in the developmental trajectory of the HPA axis. A prevailing model of social buffering primarily focuses on the role of social support in the context of acute stressors and cortisol response...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Nurit El-Bar, Offir Laufer, Roni Yoran-Hegesh, Rony Paz
Over-generalization of dangerous stimuli is a possible etiological account of anxiety. Recently, we demonstrated it could result from alterations in early perceptual mechanisms, i.e., a fundamental change in the way the stimulus is perceived. Yet it is still unclear if these mechanisms already exist in youth, or develop only later. The purpose of this study was therefore to explore the mechanism of generalization in youth suffering from anxiety disorders. Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and age-matched control participants underwent a conditioning task where a loss or gain outcome was associated with two well-separated tones...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Syrina Al Aïn, Rosemarie E Perry, Bestina Nuñez, Kassandra Kayser, Chase Hochman, Elizabeth Brehman, Miranda LaComb, Donald A Wilson, Regina M Sullivan
Social support can attenuate the behavioral and stress hormone response to threat, a phenomenon called social buffering. The mother's social buffering of the infant is one of the more robust examples; yet we understand little about the neurobiology. Using a rodent model, we explore the neurobiology of social buffering by assessing neural processing of the maternal odor, a major cue controlling social buffering in rat pups. We used pups before (postnatal day (PN) 7) and after (PN14, PN23) the functional emergence of social buffering...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Jenalee R Doom, Colleen M Doyle, Megan R Gunnar
Previous research has demonstrated that before puberty, parents are able to buffer, and often completely block, cortisol responses to social evaluative stressors (e.g., Trier Social Stress Test; TSST). However, after puberty, parents no longer provide a powerful buffer of the HPA axis from a social-evaluative stressor. The current study investigates whether friends can buffer the HPA axis in both children and adolescents compared to parents and whether similar stress-ameliorating patterns can also be observed in oxytocin activity...
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
Megan R Gunnar, Regina M Sullivan
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2017: Social Neuroscience
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