Neural mechanisms underlying social motivation
Dept Basic Neuroscience, University of Geneva Switzerland
Social behavior is the interaction of two or more individual of the same species and encompass a robust behavioral continuum that includes both affiliative and antagonistic contacts between conspecifics. Sensory inputs, internal states and environmental contexts are factors that strongly regulate social behavioural decisions, but how the brain processes this diverse information and makes these choices is unknown. Using state-of-the-art techniques, I will discuss the role of the mesolimbic dopamine system in social motivation using mice as animal model. Collectively, the data present here will provide a deeper insight into the neurocircuitry guiding specific aspects of social behavior, which are not only important to understanding the neural basis of complex behavior but also highlight potential dysfunctions underlying neuropsychiatric diseases such Autism Spectrum Disorders.