Mapping the neural dynamics of social dominance and defeat
Social experiences can have lasting changes on behavior and affective state. In particular, repeated wins and losses during fighting can facilitate and suppress the likelihood of future aggressive behavior, leading to persistent high aggression or low aggression states. We combine quantitative tools for supervised and unsupervised behavioral analysis with a variety of techniques for neural recording and perturbation, to understand how nodes in the brain’s subcortical “social decision-making network” encode and transform aggressive motivation into action, and how these circuits change following social dominance and defeat. Specifically, we focus on the temporal evolution of neural activity in the hypothalamus as aggressive motivation is mapped to action, and how the mesolimbic dopamine system acts to pattern adaptive and maladaptive behaviors during defeat.
Dr. Annegret Falkner is an Assistant Professor at Princeton University.
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