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Von Economo neurons (VENs) are a recently evolved cell type which may be involved in the fast intuitive assessment of complex situations. As such, they could be part of the circuitry supporting human social networks. We propose that the VENs relay an output of fronto-insular and anterior cingulate cortex to the parts of frontal and temporal cortex(More)
We have evaluated the role of the Drosophila mushroom bodies (MBs) in courtship conditioning, in which experience with mated females causes males to reduce their courtship toward virgins (Siegel and Hall, 1979). Whereas previous studies indicated that MB ablation abolished learning in an olfactory conditioning paradigm (deBelle and Heisenberg, 1994),(More)
People attend not only to their own experiences, but also to the experiences of those around them. Such social awareness profoundly influences human behavior by enabling observational learning, as well as by motivating cooperation, charity, empathy, and spite. Oxytocin (OT), a neurosecretory hormone synthesized by hypothalamic neurons in the mammalian(More)
Humor is a hallmark of human discourse. People use it to relieve stress and to facilitate social bonding, as well as for pure enjoyment in the absence of any apparent adaptive value. Although recent studies have revealed that humor acts as an intrinsic reward, which explains why people actively seek to experience and create humor, few have addressed the(More)
The von Economo neurons are one of the few known specializations to hominoid cortical microcircuitry. Here, using a Golgi preparation of a human postmortem brain, we describe the dendritic architecture of this unique population of neurons. We have found that, in contrast to layer 5 pyramidal neurons, the von Economo neurons have sparse dendritic trees and(More)
Exogenous application of the neuromodulatory hormone oxytocin (OT) promotes prosocial behavior and can improve social function. It is unclear, however, whether OT promotes prosocial behavior per se, or whether it facilitates social interaction by reducing a state of vigilance toward potential social threats. To disambiguate these two possibilities, we(More)
In this study, two anatomical specializations of the brain in apes and humans are considered. One of these is a whole cortical area located in the frontal polar cortex (Brodmann's area 10), and the other is a morphologically distinctive cell type, the spindle neuron of the anterior cingulate cortex. The authors suggest that the spindle cells may relay to(More)
A neuroethological approach to human and nonhuman primate behavior and cognition predicts biological specializations for social life. Evidence reviewed here indicates that ancestral mechanisms are often duplicated, repurposed, and differentially regulated to support social behavior. Focusing on recent research from nonhuman primates, we describe how the(More)
A neuroethological approach to decision-making considers the effect of evolutionary pressures on neural circuits mediating choice. In this view, decision systems are expected to enhance fitness with respect to the local environment, and particularly efficient solutions to specific problems should be conserved, expanded, and repurposed to solve other(More)
BACKGROUND Serotonin signaling influences social behavior in both human and nonhuman primates. In humans, variation upstream of the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) has recently been shown to influence both behavioral measures of social anxiety and amygdala response to social threats. Here we show that length polymorphisms in(More)