CE37 - Neurosciences intégratives et cognitives

The socio-cultural brain and its neuronal mechanisms – NeuroSocio

Submission summary

Primates’ brains are specifically tuned toward social information. This might well have organized all our neural circuits around the necessity of living with peers. As a matter of fact, social cognition is first to be impacted in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. This project aims at providing critical insight on how social beings create a shared world, by inferring social categories and cultural habits that rule their society. The ability to learn about others and to learn from others through observation is essential to primates, yet we currently don’t know how these two processes are implemented by neurons in the brain. First, we will investigate the biological mechanisms for cultural transmission of knowledge, by comparing the location and workings of brain circuits recruited when subjects acquire a novel manual task by observing a demonstrator, to brain circuits recruited when subjects learn the same manual task by trial-and-error. Second, we will investigate the location and workings of the brain circuits involved in extracting social characteristics of individuals from observation of their encounters. Finally, we will link these two issues, by investigating how brain circuits implement the fact that cultural transmission is influenced by social characteristics of the demonstrator. By combining fMRI and fMRI-guided electrophysiology, I hope to gain an understanding that encompasses whole-brain circuits, neurons, and brain-to-brain coupling, into how social categories and habits are computed in the brain, with the long-term goal of providing clinical neuroscience with new hypotheses to understand how social mechanisms are disturbed in disease.

Project coordination

Julia Sliwa (ICM)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 369,259 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 48 Months

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