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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.

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.

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.

Interactions between emotions and social context: Basic, clinical and non-human evidence

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193196 Year: Pages: 217 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-319-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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The emotions that we feel and also those that we perceive in others are crucial to the social functioning of both humans and non-human animals. Although the role of context has been extensively studied in basic sensory processing, its relevance for social cognition and emotional processing is little understood. In recent years, several lines of research at the behavioral and neural levels have highlighted the bidirectional interactions that take place between emotions and social context. Experienced emotions, even when incidental, bias decision-making. Remarkably, even basic emotions can be strongly influenced by situational contexts. In addition, both humans and non-human animals can use emotional expressions strategically as a means of influencing and managing the behavioral response of others in relation to specific environmental situations. Moreover, social emotions (e.g., engaged in moral judgment, empathic concern and social norms) seem to be context-dependent, which also questions a purely abstract account of emotion understanding and expression, as well as other social cognition domains. The present Research Topic of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience highlights the need for a situated approach to emotion and social cognition. We presented theoretical and empirical work at the behavioral and neural levels that contribute to our understanding of emotion within a highly contextualized social realm, and vice-versa. Relevant contributions are presented from diverse fields, including ethology, neurology, biology, cognitive and social neuroscience, and as well as psychology and neuropsychiatry. This integrated approach that entails the interaction between emotion and social context provide important new insights into the growing field of social neuroscience.

Trends in Neuroendocrinology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450725 Year: Pages: 138 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-072-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General) --- Internal medicine --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Neuroendocrinology is the discipline that investigates the interplay between the nervous and endocrine systems i.e. the control of endocrine glands by the central and peripheral nervous systems, the action of hormones on nerve cells and the production of hormones by the nervous system. The present Research Topic is a compilation of contributions stemming from the 8th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN2014) held in Sydney, Australia, that illustrates various facets of current neuroendocrine research.

What Determines Social Behavior? Investigating the Role of Emotions, Self-Centered Motives, and Social Norms

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199648 Year: Pages: 403 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-964-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Human behavior and decision making is subject to social and motivational influences such as emotions, norms and self/other regarding preferences. The identification of the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying these factors is a central issue in psychology, behavioral economics and social neuroscience, with important clinical, social, and even political implications. However, despite a continuously growing interest from the scientific community, the processes underlying these factors, as well as their ontogenetic and phylogenetic development, have so far remained elusive. In this Research Topic we collect articles that provide challenging insights and stimulate a fruitful controversy on the question of “what determines social behavior”. Indeed, over the last decades, research has shown that introducing a social context to otherwise abstract tasks has diverse effects on social behavior. On the one hand, it may induce individuals to act irrationally, for instance to refuse money, but on the other hand it improves individuals’ reasoning, in that formerly difficult abstract problems can be easily solved. These lines of research led to distinct (although not necessarily mutually exclusive) models for socially-driven behavioral changes. For instance, a popular theoretical framework interprets human behavior as a result of a conflict between cognition and emotion, with the cognitive system promoting self-interested choices, and the emotional system (triggered by the social context) operating against them. Other theories favor social norms and deontic heuristics in biasing human reasoning and encouraging choices that are sometimes in conflict with one’s interest. Few studies attempted to disentangle between these (as well as other) models. As a consequence, although insightful results arise from specific domains/tasks, a comprehensive theoretical framework is still missing. Furthermore, studies employing neuroimaging techniques have begun to shed some light on the neural substrates involved in social behavior, implicating consistently (although not exclusively) portions of the limbic system, the insular and the prefrontal cortex. In this context, a challenge for present research lies not only in further mapping the brain structures implicated in social behavior, or in describing in detail the functional interaction between these structures, but in showing how the implicated networks relate to different theoretical models. This is Research Topic hosted by members of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research “Affective Sciences – Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes”. We collected contributions from the international community which extended the current knowledge about the psychological and neural structures underlying social behavior and decision making. In particular, we encouraged submissions from investigators arising from different domains (psychology, behavioral economics, affective sciences, etc.) implementing different techniques (behavior, electrophysiology, neuroimaging, brain stimulations) on different populations (neurotypical adults, children, brain damaged or psychiatric patients, etc.). Animal studies are also included, as the data reported are of high comparative value. Finally, we also welcomed submissions of meta-analytical articles, mini-reviews and perspective papers which offer provocative and insightful interpretations of the recent literature in the field.

Motor Skills and Their Foundational Role for Perceptual, Social, and Cognitive Development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451593 Year: Pages: 293 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-159-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Motor skills are a vital part of healthy development and are featured prominently both in physical examinations and in parents’ baby diaries. It has been known for a long time that motor development is critical for children’s understanding of the physical and social world. Learning occurs through dynamic interactions and exchanges with the physical and the social world, and consequently movements of eyes and head, arms and legs, and the entire body are a critical during learning. At birth, we start with relatively poorly developed motor skills but soon gain eye and head control, learn to reach, grasp, sit, and eventually to crawl and walk on our own. The opportunities arising from each of these motor milestones are profound and open new and exciting possibilities for exploration and interactions, and learning. Consequently, several theoretical accounts of child development suggest that growth in cognitive, social, and perceptual domains are influences by infants’ own motor experiences. Recently, empirical studies have started to unravel the direct impact that motor skills may have other domains of development. This volume is part of this renewed interest and includes reviews of previous findings and recent empirical evidence for associations between the motor domain and other domains from leading researchers in the field of child development. We hope that these articles will stimulate further research on this interesting question.

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.

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