BEACON Seminar: From agents, to actions, to interactions: primates' brain networks for social processing
Dr Julia Silwa, ICM Institute
Cognitive & Behavioural Neuroscience Seminar Series
Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 1pm to 2pm
Hosted by Kevin Marche
Our brain continuously decodes the complex visual scenes unwinding in front of us: both the nature of material entities, such as individuals and objects, and their immaterial interactions. I will briefly talk about recognition of individuals by monkeys, and next turn to social scenes and interaction processing by humans and monkeys. Interactions are fundamental in that they reveal hidden properties of intentional agents, such as their thoughts and feelings and of objects, such as their mass or material. Where and how interaction analyses are implemented in the brain was unknown. Using whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging in macaque monkeys, we discovered a network centered in the medial and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex that is selectively engaged in social interaction analysis. Two additional networks, a parieto-premotor and a temporal one, exhibited both social and physical interaction preference, which, in the temporal lobe, mapped onto a fine-grain pattern of object, body, and face selectivity. Extent and location of a system for social interaction analysis in monkeys suggest that this function might be an evolutionary forerunner of human mind-reading capabilities.