Looking at the brain to understand social behaviours
Essential for survival, all sexually reproducing species exhibit social behaviours that include affiliative and antagonistic interactions. These are characterised by high levels of complexity of communication through multiple sensory modalities. For instance, humans and other animals living in groups continuously select appropriate behavioural responses upon exposure to conspecifics. The EU-funded SocialNAc project will explore the role of the nucleus accumbens (NAc), which is a key region of the mesocorticolimbic circuits for evaluating appetitive and aversive information. Also known as the ‘pleasure centre’, it plays a central role in the reward circuit. Specifically, the project will use in vivo and ex vivo recordings and circuit-specific optogenetic manipulations in specific social interaction conditions. The project will check how NAc integrates information about conspecifics and how it incorporates learned associations to initiate conspecific approach or avoidance.
Call for proposal
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