Brain imaging reveals neural correlates of human social behavior

October 22, 2019

CHICAGO -- Advances in the study of human social behavior may lead to a better understanding of normal processes such as empathy and theory of mind, as well as dysregulated conditions including autism spectrum disorder. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2019, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

People are incredibly social creatures, and our brains have evolved to support a wide array of complex social behaviors. Everyday experiences, such as empathizing with others and finding flow in teamwork, are supported by sophisticated neural circuits that researchers are just beginning to map out. A better understanding of the neural basis of social behaviors could also shed light on conditions such as autism spectrum disorder or social anxiety, in which social abilities are affected.

Today's new findings show that:"The neuroscience advances presented today expand our understanding of how our brains process social information, enabling us to live in our complex society," said Michael Platt, PhD, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies decision processes. "These advances provide potential new avenues for researching empathy, theory of mind and even conditions such as autism spectrum disorder."

This research was supported by national funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health and private funding organizations. Find out more about social behavior and the brain on

Related Neuroscience 2019 Presentation

Clinical Neuroscience Lecture: From Pecking Order to Ketamine: Neural Mechanisms of Social & Emotional Behaviors

Sunday, Oct. 20, 10:30 - 11:40 a.m., Hall B?

Social Behavior Press Conference SummaryTactile Emojis and the Language of Social Touch

Sarah McIntyre,, Abstract 358.11An Interbrain Approach for Understanding Empathy

Simone Shamay-Tsoory,, Abstract 274.06Specific Neural Correlates Integrate Flow and Social Experience

Mohammad Shehata,, Abstract 249.15Neurons in the Primate Amygdala Simulate Decision Processes of Social Partners

Fabian Grabenhorst,, Abstract 325.28Cellular Representations of Human Theory of Mind

Ziv Williams,, Abstract 249.03
About the Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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