Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

http://scan.oxfordjournals.org

List of Papers (Total 782)

Beauty is in the belief of the beholder: cognitive influences on the neural response to facial attractiveness

Judgments of facial attractiveness are central to decision-making in various domains, but little is known about the extent to which they are malleable. In this study, we used EEG/ERP methods to examine two novel influences on neural and subjective responses to facial attractiveness: an observer’s expectation and repetition. In each trial of our task, participants viewed either an ...

A face versus non-face context influences amygdala responses to masked fearful eye whites

The structure of the mask stimulus is crucial in backward masking studies and we recently demonstrated such an effect when masking faces. Specifically, we showed that activity of the amygdala is increased to fearful facial expressions masked with neutral faces and decreased to fearful expressions masked with a pattern mask—but critically both masked conditions discriminated fearful ...

Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is associated with differences in moral judgment

Moral judgments are produced through the coordinated interaction of multiple neural systems, each of which relies on a characteristic set of neurotransmitters. Genes that produce or regulate these neurotransmitters may have distinctive influences on moral judgment. Two studies examined potential genetic influences on moral judgment using dilemmas that reliably elicit competing ...

Awake canine fMRI predicts dogs’ preference for praise vs food

Dogs are hypersocial with humans, and their integration into human social ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding. However, the proximal neural mechanisms driving dog–human social interaction are unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in 15 awake dogs to probe the neural basis for their preferences for social interaction and food ...

Effect of childhood maltreatment and brain-derived neurotrophic factor on brain morphology

Childhood maltreatment (CM) has been associated with altered brain morphology, which may partly be due to a direct impact on neural growth, e.g. through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) pathway. Findings on CM, BDNF and brain volume are inconsistent and have never accounted for the entire BDNF pathway. We examined the effects of CM, BDNF (genotype, gene expression and ...

Neural differences in self-perception during illness and after weight-recovery in anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe mental illness characterized by problems with self-perception. Whole-brain neural activations in healthy women, women with AN and women in long-term weight recovery following AN were compared using two functional magnetic resonance imaging tasks probing different aspects of self-perception. The Social Identity-V2 task involved consideration about ...

Temporal voice areas exist in autism spectrum disorder but are dysfunctional for voice identity recognition

The ability to recognise the identity of others is a key requirement for successful communication. Brain regions that respond selectively to voices exist in humans from early infancy on. Currently, it is unclear whether dysfunction of these voice-sensitive regions can explain voice identity recognition impairments. Here, we used two independent functional magnetic resonance imaging ...

Neural response to pictorial health warning labels can predict smoking behavioral change

In order to improve our understanding of how pictorial health warning labels (HWLs) influence smoking behavior, we examined whether brain activity helps to explain smoking behavior above and beyond self-reported effectiveness of HWLs. We measured the neural response in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the amygdala while adult smokers viewed HWLs. Two weeks later, ...

Is fear perception special? Evidence at the level of decision-making and subjective confidence

Fearful faces are believed to be prioritized in visual perception. However, it is unclear whether the processing of low-level facial features alone can facilitate such prioritization or whether higher-level mechanisms also contribute. We examined potential biases for fearful face perception at the levels of perceptual decision-making and perceptual confidence. We controlled for ...

What they bring: baseline psychological distress differentially predicts neural response in social exclusion by children’s friends and strangers in best friend dyads

Friendships play a major role in cognitive, emotional and social development in middle childhood. We employed the online Cyberball social exclusion paradigm to understand the neural correlates of dyadic social exclusion among best friends assessed simultaneously. Each child played with their friend and an unfamiliar player. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were assessed via ...

Amygdala functional connectivity as a longitudinal biomarker of symptom changes in generalized anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry, autonomic dysregulation and functional amygdala dysconnectivity, yet these illness markers have rarely been considered together, nor their interrelationship tested longitudinally. We hypothesized that an individual’s capacity for emotion regulation predicts longer-term changes in amygdala functional ...

Network integrity of the parental brain in infancy supports the development of children’s social competencies

The cross-generational transmission of mammalian sociality, initiated by the parent’s postpartum brain plasticity and species-typical behavior that buttress offspring’s socialization, has not been studied in humans. In this longitudinal study, we measured brain response of 45 primary-caregiving parents to their infant’s stimuli, observed parent–infant interactions, and assayed ...

Inferior fronto-temporo-occipital connectivity: a missing link between maltreated girls and neglectful mothers

The neurobiological alterations resulting from adverse childhood experiences that subsequently may lead to neglectful mothering are poorly understood. Maternal neglect of an infant’s basic needs is the most prevalent type of child maltreatment. We tested white matter alterations in neglectful mothers, the majority of whom had also suffered maltreatment in their childhood, and ...

Impaired spontaneous belief inference following acquired damage to the left posterior temporoparietal junction

Efficient social interactions require taking into account other people’s mental states such as their beliefs, intentions or emotions. Recent studies have shown that in some social situations at least, we do spontaneously take into account others’ mental states. The extent to which we have dedicated brain areas for such spontaneous perspective taking is however still unclear. Here, ...

Trait conscientiousness and the personality meta-trait stability are associated with regional white matter microstructure

Establishing the neural bases of individual differences in personality has been an enduring topic of interest. However, while a growing literature has sought to characterize grey matter correlates of personality traits, little attention to date has been focused on regional white matter correlates of personality, especially for the personality traits agreeableness, conscientiousness ...

Primary somatosensory contribution to action observation brain activity—combining fMRI and cTBS

Traditionally the mirror neuron system (MNS) only includes premotor and posterior parietal cortices. However, somatosensory cortices, BA1/2 in particular, are also activated during action execution and observation. Here, we examine whether BA1/2 and the parietofrontal MNS integrate information by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-guided continuous theta-burst ...

Significant grey matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation

The traditional concept of ‘categorical’ psychiatric disorders has been challenged as many of the symptoms display a continuous distribution in the general population. We suggest that this is the case for emotional dysregulation, a key component in several categorical psychiatric disorder constructs. We used voxel-based magnetic resonance imaging morphometry in healthy human ...

Opposing effects of negative emotion on amygdalar and hippocampal memory for items and associations

Although negative emotion can strengthen memory of an event it can also result in memory disturbances, as in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We examined the effects of negative item content on amygdalar and hippocampal function in memory for the items themselves and for the associations between them. During fMRI, we examined encoding and retrieval of paired associates made ...

Heritability of the limbic networks

Individual differences in cognitive ability and social behaviour are influenced by the variability in the structure and function of the limbic system. A strong heritability of the limbic cortex has been previously reported, but little is known about how genetic factors influence specific limbic networks. We used diffusion tensor imaging tractography to investigate heritability of ...

‘Imagined guilt’ vs ‘recollected guilt’: implications for fMRI

Guilt is thought to maintain social harmony by motivating reparation. This study compared two methodologies commonly used to identify the neural correlates of guilt. The first, imagined guilt, requires participants to read hypothetical scenarios and then imagine themselves as the protagonist. The second, recollected guilt, requires participants to reflect on times they personally ...

Linking person perception and person knowledge in the human brain

Neuroscience research has examined separately how we detect human agents on the basis of their face and body (person perception) and how we reason about their thoughts, traits or intentions (person knowledge). Neuroanatomically distinct networks have been associated with person perception and person knowledge, but it remains unknown how multiple features of a person (e.g. thin and ...

Emotion-induced loss aversion and striatal-amygdala coupling in low-anxious individuals

Adapting behavior to changes in the environment is a crucial ability for survival but such adaptation varies widely across individuals. Here, we asked how humans alter their economic decision-making in response to emotional cues, and whether this is related to trait anxiety. Developing an emotional decision-making task for functional magnetic resonance imaging, in which gambling ...

Mismatch or allostatic load? Timing of life adversity differentially shapes gray matter volume and anxious temperament

Traditionally, adversity was defined as the accumulation of environmental events (allostatic load). Recently however, a mismatch between the early and the later (adult) environment (mismatch) has been hypothesized to be critical for disease development, a hypothesis that has not yet been tested explicitly in humans. We explored the impact of timing of life adversity (childhood and ...

Coordinated activation of premotor and ventromedial prefrontal cortices during vicarious reward

The vicarious reward we receive from watching likable others obtaining a positive outcome is a pervasive phenomenon, yet its neural correlates are poorly understood. Here, we conducted a series of functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments to test the hypothesis that the brain areas responsible for action observation and reward processing work in a coordinated fashion during ...

Neuromodulation of group prejudice and religious belief

People cleave to ideological convictions with greater intensity in the aftermath of threat. The posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) plays a key role in both detecting discrepancies between desired and current conditions and adjusting subsequent behavior to resolve such conflicts. Building on prior literature examining the role of the pMFC in shifts in relatively low-level ...