Objectives

The symposium on Perspectives in Social Neuroscience: Social Interaction from Rodents to Humans will provide a broad overview on the rapidly developing field of social neuroscience. Social neuroscience is an expanding research field devoted to understand how social behavior is implemented by biological factors, and how social experiences in turn impact the brain. A major goal of this symposium is to integrate research findings on the neural basis of social behavior across different levels of analyses from rodent studies on molecular neurobiology to behavioral neuroscience to functional neuroimaging data on human social behavior (see new Springer book on Social Behavior from Rodents to Humans; Wöhr & Krach).

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Part I: Neuroscience of Social Interaction in Rodents

Most rodents are social animals, displaying a rich repertoire of social behaviors and living at least substantial parts of their lives in societies in which they use complex ways to communicate with each other, for instance during mating and while forming social bonds. In recent years, the need for elaborate rodent models of human behavior has been growing, since non-invasive imagine techniques have obvious limitations in understanding the mechanisms underlying social behavior. The first part of the symposium adresses some of the most fascinating insights in the neuroscience of social interactive behavior in rodents.

Part II: Neuroscience of Social Interaction in Humans

“Whether supportive, strategic, combative or romantic, social interactions are at the core of everyday experience” (McCall, 2016). It is an essential fact of humankind that we either engage into social interactions or at least constantly simulate and represent ourselves in the context of our surrounding social world. The rise and significance of social media for humans in modern societies is another proof of this principle and a powerful cultural artifact that demonstrates how humans value and nurture the connections between them. This part is devoted to the question of how the various facets of sociality and their underlying neural principles, that help us to engage with others, can be understood in the neurosciences of human social interactions.

Part III: Developmental and Clinical Aspects of Social Interactions

The last section is devoted to clinical and developmental implications. A particular emphasis is put on the case of autism spectrum disorder, a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social and communication deficits, paralleled by repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior.