Social interaction is essential to our daily lives, shaping interpersonal communication and the decisions we make. The first part of the presentation will describe our recent findings from studying the medial prefrontal-amygdala circuits when rhesus macaques make prosocial and antisocial decisions impacting the reward outcome of a partner. We found directionally selective ‘frequency modules’ that convey social decision and reward variables (e.g., prosocial versus antisocial preference, vicarious versus experienced reward). These results support the importance of network-level modules in the social brain that are governed by frequency and direction selective information routing. The second part of the presentation will describe a novel automated cooperation paradigm in freely moving common marmosets that combines markerless behavioural tracking, a dynamic Bayesian network modeling of behavioural dependencies, and wireless neuronal recording. Cooperation in this paradigm was guided by the strategic use of social gaze and was critically dependent on social relationships. Overall, this presentation emphasizes the importance of interareal interactions in the social brain and introduces a robust naturalistic cooperation paradigm suitable for neural investigation.


Steve Chang is an Associate Professor of Psychology and of Neuroscience at Yale University. He is also a member of the Wu Tsai Institute and the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale. He is the co-Director of Undergraduate Studies of Yale's Neuroscience (NSCI) major. His research aims to understand the neural circuit mechanisms of social cognition and social decision-making. Major research approaches include using naturalistic social interaction paradigms combined with state-of-the-art behavioral and neural technologies. The ultimate goal of the research program is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition and to learn how these processes may be disrupted in psychiatric conditions with social deficits.