The Social Brain and the Amygdala
Emotional dysregulation in psychiatric syndromes is often expressed as maladaptive social function, including misinterpretation of social cues. Functional imaging studies in humans demonstrate two cortical networks that are frequently dysregulated in psychiatric illnesses: the 'salience detection' network (areas 25/32, agranular insula) which monitors internal physiologic states to 'mark' salient cues, and the 'social monitoring' network (areas 24/14/dysgranular cortex), which detects and interprets the meaning and value of others' actions. Since social cues are among the most salient of all for primates including humans, integration of 'salience' and 'social monitoring' networks must exist. We are examining how social function networks interact with 'salience detection' pathways in the amygdala and striatum of the nonhuman primate.
These studies enable a more accurate interpretation of neuroimaging results in humans, and are a necessary bridge for understanding connections that drive amygdala activity on a cellular level.
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