'Brain state' behind social interaction uncovered
The brain’s emotion-processing center — the amygdala — is one of several brain regions involved in social behavior. But the exact role that this almond-shaped structure plays in the so-called ‘social brain’ remains mysterious. Now, the Lüthi group has found that the activity of different populations of neurons in the amygdala reflects whether mice interact with their peers, or whether they focus on self-centered behaviors such as grooming. The findings could help to understand how the activity pattern of groups of neurons sets an overall ‘brain state’, and how that influences behavior — including social interaction and other behaviors that are impaired in neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism and social anxiety.
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The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), based in Basel, Switzerland, is a world-class biomedical research institute, affiliated with the University of Basel and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.
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