About this Research Topic
One example where a behavioral response may be inappropriate to the social context is the case of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment of social interaction. Children with ASD experience challenges in behaving appropriately in response to their surroundings and they require appropriate support from their caregivers. Despite a sizeable body of research, the underlying biological mechanisms characterizing ASD are still insufficiently understood, and their corresponding treatment strategies are limited. Earlier studies have produced several animal models (Shank3 mutant mice, valproic acid-exposed mice, and BTBR mice, etc.) and reveal that key/specific brain regions such as the hippocampus, amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex, etc. are involved in ASD. However, these studies have failed to reveal the complex underlying pathophysiology.
As social behaviors are a fundamental part of our everyday life, allowing for behavioral adaptations, the study of the mechanisms which generate social behavior is an essential element of our success as an individual and members of our species.
Indeed, we need to understand and gather insights into the mechanisms which lead to the development of social life, how social networks and their functions develop, depending on the environment and its impact, as well as the mechanisms of adaptive social functioning.
An in-depth investigation can be carried out by developing new instruments and indicators to analyze social behavior. Innovative research is also needed to validate target molecules, identify adequate biomarkers, and elucidate the role of specific brain regions/connectivity, which may lead to new pharmacological developments and methods of treatment for dysfunctional social behaviors.
This Research Topic aims to obtain an in-depth understanding of disorders affecting and impacting social behavior, starting from an analysis of social behavior generation and control, considering context and the impact of external stimuli.
Our objective is to gather cutting-edge research presenting developments in the analysis of neurobiological mechanisms involved in social behavior regulation. This includes studying brain regions, genes, and neural circuits involved in social life, social networks, and social functioning. We will investigate mutant or pharmacologically derived model organisms in both physiological and pathological contexts. We welcome all types of articles that provide new insights into the regulation of social behaviors in response to the environment, with a specific interest in the following:
・Development of new indicators of social behavior (methods, devices, psychological/physiological indicators, etc.) or repurposing of already existing ones from other fields e.g. the utilization of autonomic nervous system responses such as heart rate variability (HRV) or electromyography.
・Development of new model organisms to investigate social behavior.
・Identification of brain regions/connectivity responsible for social behavior in selected model organisms and human studies, via in vivo and/or in vitro assays, (e.g., simultaneously measure several brain activities during social behavior and derive the degree of coupling computationally).
・The reciprocal interaction between genes and social behavior.
・Assessment of the environmental effects (e.g., cage mates, hierarchy, enriched/poor environment, stress, etc.) on social behavior on investigated animal models.
Keywords: social interaction, mental disorders, environmental adjustment, interpersonal relationships, physiological indicators, gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, dysfunctional social behavior
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