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Neural basis of social learning, social deciding, and other-regarding preferences

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194292 Year: Pages: 199 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-429-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans and many other social animals decide, or learn when necessary, what to do in a given social situation by assessing a range of variables related to social states (e.g., competitive or cooperative), others’ overt behavior (e.g., response choices and outcomes), others’ covert mental states (e.g., beliefs, intentions and desires), and one’s own interpersonal inclination (e.g. other-regarding preferences and generosity). Recent studies in social neuroscience have begun to uncover how such social variables are processed, encoded, and integrated in the brain. The goal of the current Research Topic is to promote a better understanding of neural basis of social learning, social decision-making, and other-regarding preferences.

Scents that matter - from olfactory stimuli to genes, behaviors and beyond

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198139 Year: Pages: 254 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-813-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Scents can carry a lot of important information about the environment, conspecifics and other species. While some of these scents are positively related, as the odor of food, mating partners, or familiar conspecifics, other scents are associated with negative situations and events, e.g. the occurrence of a predator, an aggressive territorial conspecific or spoiled food. The present research topic is focused on such “scents that matter”, i.e., scents that are crucial for the survival of an organism. Since many years, the importance of scents always attracts scientists to investigate how scents affect the behavior of mammals, via which mechanisms scents are perceived and how scents modulate neural circuitries responsible for behavior. We believe that this research topic gives a nice overview on current ‘olfactory research.’ Many of the contributions are focused on scents with aversive effects, i.e. kairomones or pheromones that warn about potential threats. These studies range from research articles identifying new active odor components of predator odors, describing the induced behavioral changes and the underlying neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms, to review articles summarizing the findings of the last decades on this field. Other articles are focused on the effects of scents in social behaviors or on associative learning. This research topic also represents nicely the current combination of methodological approaches in ‘olfactory research’: cell biologists, geneticists, behavioral pharmacologists, neuroanatomists, and computational modelers work effectively together to unravel the mechanisms of how scents matters in humans and animals.

Emotion and Behavior

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199655 Year: Pages: 131 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-965-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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In this Research Topic, several groups of researchers from both social and biological psychology summarize their findings addressing the relation between emotion and behavior. The Reflective-Impulsive Model (RIM) (Strack & Deutsch, 2004; 2014 in press) serves as a general orientation and provides a link to integrate the results from seemingly divergent perspectives. The contributions focuses on different types of emotional behaviors, like facial expressions and impulsive reactions. They address the central issue of approach vs. avoidance and include clinical topics like addiction and fear. Methodologically, the contributions are predominantly experimental and are partly based on manipulations in the context of virtual reality.

Keywords

emotion --- Behavior --- impulsive --- reflective --- approach --- avoidance

Using Substances to Enhance Performance: A Psychology of Neuroenhancement

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450756 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-075-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Neuroenhancement (NE) is a behavior conceptualized as the use of a potentially psychoactive substance to enhance ones’ already proficient cognitive capacities. Depending on the specific definitions used, prevalence estimates vary greatly between very low 0.3% (for illicit substances) to astonishingly high 89% (for freely available lifestyle substances). These variations indicate that further research and more conceptual and theoretical clarification of the NE construct is dearly needed. The contributions of this research topic aim to do just that. Specific questions addressed are: How prevalent is NE behavior? How can NE research profit from the already more evolved field of social science research on doping in sports? How is NE perceived by the public? What psychological processes and variables play a role in the decision to neuroenhance? A wide array of methodological approaches is used to investigate these questions. The topics contributions range from theoretical to experimental accounts on NE, and they utilize a diverse set of methods ranging from qualitative to neuroscientific approaches. The research presented here represents a first step towards what we have labeled a psychological approach to NE. By addressing the questions above this research topic hopefully advances our understanding of NE behavior. As with every new field of research, new answers always prompt new questions. In light of what we know now about NE, we hope that the findings presented here will be pursued by other researchers in the future. Clearly, the endeavor to understand NE behavior has only just begun.

Oxytocin's routes in social behavior: Into the 21st century

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196968 Year: Pages: 132 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-696-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Our brain is endowed with an incredible capacity to be social, to trust, to cooperate, to be altruistic, to feel empathy and love. Nevertheless, the biological underpinnings of such behaviors remain partially hardwired. Seminal research in rodents has provided important insights on the identification of specific genes in modulating social behaviors, in particular, the arginine vasopressin receptor and the oxytocin receptor genes. These genes are involved in regulating a wide range of social behaviors, mother-infant interactions, social recognition, aggression and socio-sexual behavior. Remarkably, we now know that these genes contribute to social behavior in a broad range of species from voles to humans. Indeed, advances in human non-invasive neuroimaging techniques and genetics have enabled scientists to begin to elucidate the neurobiological basis of the complexity of human social behaviors using "pharmacological fMRI" and "imaging genetics". Over the past few years, there has been a strong interest focused on the role of oxytocin in modulating human social behaviors with translational relevance for understanding neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia and depression, in which deficits in social perception and social recognition are key phenotypes. The convergence of this interdisciplinary research is beginning to reveal the complex nature of oxytocin’s actions. For instance, the way that oxytocin does influence social functioning is highly related to individual differences in social experiences, but also to the inter-individual variability in the receptor distribution of this molecule in the brain. Remarkably, despite the increasing evidence that oxytocin has a key role in regulating human social behavior, we still lack of knowledge on the core mechanisms of action of this molecule. Understanding its fundamental actions is a crucial need in order to target optimal therapeutic strategies for human social disorders. The originality of this Research Topic stands on its translational focus on bridging the gap between fundamental knowledge acquired from oxytocin research in voles and monkeys and recent clinical investigations in humans. For instance, what are the key animal findings that can import further knowledge on the mechanisms of actions of this molecule in humans? What are the key experiences that can be performed in the animal model in order to answer significant science gaps in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders? Hence, within this Research Topic, we will review the current state of the field, identify where the gaps in knowledge are, and propose directions for future research. This issue will begin with a comparative review that examines the role of this peptide in diverse animal models, which highlights the adaptive value of oxytocin’s function across multiple species. Then, a series of reviews will examine the role of oxytocin in voles, primates, and humans with an eye toward revealing commonalities in the underlying brain circuits mediating oxytocin’s effects on social behavior. Next, there will be a translational review highlighting the evidence for oxytocin’s role in clinical applications in psychopathology. Hence, via the continuum of basic to translational research areas, we will try to address the important gaps in our understanding of the neurobiological routes of social cognition and the mechanisms of action of the neuropeptides that guide our behaviors and decisions.

Social Hormones and Human Behavior: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go from Here

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194070 Year: Pages: 95 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-407-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are the paramount social hormones in mammals and accumulating evidence also strengthens the unique role of these neuropeptides also in human social behavior. Indeed from voles to humans, OT and AVP modulate an intriguing number of social behaviors resonating across species such as the quality of pair bonding, parenting, modulations of social stress, in-group & out-group relationships and social communications. Recent molecular genetic studies of the oxytocin (OXTR), arginine vasopressin 1a (AVPR1a) and arginine vasopressin 1b (AVPR1b) receptors have strengthened the role of these two neuropeptides in a range of normal and pathological human behaviors. Importantly, dysfunctions in the OT and AVP neural pathways are likely contributing to deficits in social skills and communication in disorders such as autism. This Research Topic covers the state of the science and provides a deep view of social hormone research in humans to illustrates how pharmacological, genetic and neuroimaging strategies can be successfully combined toward unraveling the mystery of how human social behavior is regulated. Understanding human social behavior at the molecular level, i.e. social neuroscience, is not only crucial for treatment and diagnosis of disorders characterized by deficits in social cognition but also has important implications in establishing the congruence of findings from different approaches in the Social Sciences and Biology. We bring together in this issue a broad spectrum of investigators from the neurosciences, genetics, psychology, economics and political science towards a deeper understanding of the biological roots of human social behavior. We hope that this transdisciplinary Research Topic will bring new insights and ideas to the field, give future perspectives while also addressing open questions and limitation in order to develop intervention and prevention strategies, and to translate the basic social hormone research into clinical applications. This Research Topic covers the state of the science and provides a deep view of social hormone research in humans to illustrates how pharmacological, genetic and neuroimaging strategies can be successfully combined toward unraveling the mystery of how human social behavior is regulated. Understanding human social behavior at the molecular level, aka social neuroscience, is not only crucial for treatment and diagnosis of disorders characterized by deficits in social cognition but such an understanding has important implications for consilience of the Social Sciences and Biology. We bring together in this issue a broad spectrum of investigators from the neurosciences, genetics, psychology, economics and political science towards a deeper understanding of the biological roots of human social behavior. We hope that this transdisciplinary Research Topic will bring new insights and ideas to the field, give future perspectives while also addressing open questions and limitation in order to develop intervention and prevention strategies, and to translate the basic social hormone research into clinical applications.

How nature shaped echolocation in animals

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193479 Year: Pages: 207 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-347-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Physiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Echolocation has evolved in different groups of animals, from bats and cetaceans to birds and humans, and enables localization and tracking of objects in a dynamic environment, where light levels may be very low or absent. Nature has shaped echolocation, an active sense that engages audiomotor feedback systems, which operates in diverse environments and situations. Echolocation production and perception vary across species, and signals are often adapted to the environment and task. In the last several decades, researchers have been studying the echolocation behavior of animals, both in the air and underwater, using different methodologies and perspectives. The result of these studies has led to rich knowledge on sound production mechanisms, directionality of the sound beam, signal design, echo reception and perception. Active control over echolocation signal production and the mechanisms for echo processing ultimately provide animals with an echoic scene or image of their surroundings. Sonar signal features directly influence the information available for the echolocating animal to perceive images of its environment. In many echolocating animals, the information processed through echoes elicits a reaction in motor systems, including adjustments in subsequent echolocation signals. We are interested in understanding how echolocating animals deal with different environments (e.g. clutter, light levels), tasks, distance to targets or objects, different prey types or other food sources, presence of conspecifics or certain predators, ambient and anthropogenic noise. In recent years, some researchers have presented new data on the origins of echolocation, which can provide a hint of its evolution. Theoreticians have addressed several issues that bear on echolocation systems, such as frequency or time resolution, target localization and beam-forming mechanisms. In this Research Topic we compiled recent work that elucidates how echolocation – from sound production, through echolocation signals to perception- has been shaped by nature functioning in different environments and situations. We strongly encouraged comparative approaches that would deepen our understanding of the processes comprising this active sense.

The state of the art in student engagement

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195961 Year: Pages: 53 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-596-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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There is an extensive literature conducted from a range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies on the role of groups and student learning in higher education. However here the concept of the ‘group’ is heavily contested at a theoretical level but within higher education practice, characterizing the group has tended to be clear cut. Groups of students are often formed within the parameters of specific educational programs to address explicitly defined learning objectives. These groups are often small scale and achieve tasks through cooperative or collaborative learning. Cooperative learning involves students dividing roles and responsibilities between group members, so learning becomes an independent process and outcome. On the other hand, collaborative learning involves students working together by developing shared meanings and knowledge to solve a task or problem. From this perspective, learning is conceptualized as both a social process and individual outcome. That is, collaborative learning may facilitate individual student conceptual understanding and hence lead to higher academic achievement. The empirical evidence is encouraging as has been shown that students working collaboratively tend to achieve higher grades than students working independently. However the above perspectives on student engagement assume that groups are formed within the confines of formal learning environments (e.g. lecture theaters), involve students on the same degree program, have the explicit function of achieving a learning task and disband once this has been achieved. However, students may also use existing social networks such as friendship groups as a mechanism for learning, which may occur outside of formal learning environments. There is an extensive literature on the role and benefits of friendship groups on student learning within primary and secondary education but there is a distinct lack of research within higher education. This ebook is innovative and ambitious and will highlight and consolidate, the current understanding of the role that student based engagement behaviors may serve in effective pedagogy. A unique aspect of this research topic will be the fact that scholars will also be welcome to submit articles that describe the efficacy of the full range of approaches that have been employed to facilitate student engagement across the sector.

Cytokines as Players of Neuronal Plasticity and Sensitivity to Environment in Healthy and Pathological Brain

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197682 Year: Pages: 158 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-768-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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It is now accepted that immune molecules are not only present within the brain during pathology but they exert physiological functions in the "healthy" brain as well. Increasing evidence points to a neuro-modulatory role of cytokines and chemokines (CHEMOtactic cytoKINES) in basal transmission and plasticity processes where signaling between peri-synaptic astrocytes, microglia and neurons plays an important role. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms as to how cytokines, and in particular chemokines, participate in the molecular and cellular processes thought to subserve memory formation, plasticity processes and responsiveness to environmental stimuli remain to be clarified. Interestingly, in in vitro preparations, molecules like TNF-a, interleukin (IL)-1ß, IL-6, CX3CL1, CXCL12, CCL2 and CCL3 are implicated in synaptic formation and scaling, in modulation of glutamatergic transmission, in plasticity and neurogenesis, in particular in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is an extremely plastic structure, one of the main neurogenic niches in the adult brain, that exhibits a marked sensibility to environmental stimuli. Indeed exposure of mice to environmental enrichment (EE) modifies learning and memory abilities increasing neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity whether exposure to severe stressful experiences diminishes neurotrophic support, impairs neurogenesis, plasticity and cognition. In the hippocampus cytokines play a key role in mediating both positive as well as negative effects of the environment affecting neuronal plasticity also in stress related pathologies, such as depression. It has been reported that mice lacking type 1 receptor for IL-1 display impaired hippocampal memory and LTP that are restored by EE; moreover negative effects on neuronal plasticity (and thus behavior) induced by stress exposure can be prevented by blocking IL-1 activity. In addition, mice lacking IL-6 have improved cognitive functions whereas the absence of microglia-driven CX3CR1 signaling increases hippocampal plasticity and spatial memory occluding the potentiating effects of EE. However, the factors mediating the effect of environmental stimuli on behavior and plasticity has been only partially identified. Interestingly, it has been suggested that chemokines can play a key role in the flexibility of hippocampal structure and may modulate neuronal signaling during behavior. The question is how cytokines may translate environmental stimuli in plasticity and behavioral changes. This research topic is proposed to explore the role of cytokines, and more in particular chemokines, in the modulation of neuronal activity as a fundamental step for the correct brain wiring, function and susceptibility to environment. We encourage the submission of original research reports, review articles, commentaries, perspectives or short communications, in the following (but not limited to) topics:- Role of cytokines and chemokines in neuronal plasticity- Immune molecules and responsiveness to environment- Role of chemokine in the flexibility of hippocampal structure

Impact of Diet on Learning, Memory and Cognition

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452286 Year: Pages: 117 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-228-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-13 14:57:01
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Changes in food composition and availability have contributed to the dramatic increase in obesity over the past 30-40 years in developed and, increasingly, in developing countries. The modern diet now contains many foods that are rich in saturated fat and refined sugar. People who eat excessive amounts of this diet are not only likely to become overweight, even obese, develop metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, some forms of cancer, but also undergo a more rapid rate of normal age-related cognitive decline and more rapid progression of neurological diseases such as dementia. A central problem is why people persist in consuming this diet in spite of its adverse health effects and when alternative food choices are available. As high fat / high sugar foods are inherently rewarding, eating for pleasure, like taking psychoactive drugs, can modulate reward neurocircuitry, causing changes in responsiveness to reward-predicting stimuli and incentive motivation. Indeed, the excessive ingestion in modern societies and the resulting obesity epidemic may be viewed as a form of food addiction. Thus, a diet high in palatable foods is proposed to impact upon reward systems in the brain, modulating appetitive learning and altering reward thresholds. Impairments in other forms of cognition have been associated with obesity, and these have a rapid onset. The hippocampus appears to be particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of high fat and high sugar diets. Recent research has shown that as little as one week of exposure to a high fat, high sugar diet leads to impairments in place but not object recognition memory in the rat. Excess sugar alone had similar effects, and the detrimental effects of diet consumption was linked to increased inflammatory markers in the hippocampus, a critical region involved in memory. Furthermore, obesity-related inflammatory changes have also been described in the human brain that may lead to memory impairments. These memory deficits may contribute to pathological eating behaviour through changes in the amount consumed and timing of eating. The aim of this eBook is to present up-to-date information about the impact of diet and diet-induced obesity on reward driven learning, memory and cognition, encompassing both animal and human literature, and also potential therapeutic targets to attenuate such deficits.

Keywords

Diet --- Obesity --- Memory --- Cognition --- Famine --- Fat --- Sugar --- Behavior --- Neurodevelopment

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