Research Topic

Social Decision-Making in Animals

About this Research Topic

Animals regularly must make decisions that impact fitness. This is achieved by weighing up the short and long-term costs and benefits of different courses of action leading to a chosen behavioral output. For most animals, living in complex social environments requires individuals to constantly engage both cooperatively and competitively with others and so the majority of decision-making is done within a social context. For instance, animals may adjust their own behavior according to who is or is not present in a social group at a given time or may use other individuals to gain information or jointly come to choose an appropriate course of action.

Social-decision making (SDM) has long been studied in the fields of animal behavior, behavioral ecology and collective behavior. More recently, neuroscientists have begun to elucidate the brain processes underlying such decision making in animals. This work has identified numerous brain regions and networks involved in SDM that are distinct from decision making in other domains. Dependent on the species, these include brain regions involved in higher order processes (e.g. inferring mental states of others or comparing self to others) and lower order processes (e.g. social memory and social inhibition of emotional or impulsive behavior).

The convergence of behavioral and neuroscientific investigation of SDM has required the adaptation of novel neuroscientific methodologies, the generation of novel behavioral paradigms that facilitate the study of social groups in both the lab and the field as well as the utilization of diverse species from invertebrates to vertebrates to understand how evolutionary conserved social-decision making neural circuits are across taxa.

In this Research Topic, we will invite experts in the field to present original research work on the neural basis of animal SDM. The issue will consist of papers from multiple diverse species utilizing novel behavioral and neuroscientific methodologies.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Animals regularly must make decisions that impact fitness. This is achieved by weighing up the short and long-term costs and benefits of different courses of action leading to a chosen behavioral output. For most animals, living in complex social environments requires individuals to constantly engage both cooperatively and competitively with others and so the majority of decision-making is done within a social context. For instance, animals may adjust their own behavior according to who is or is not present in a social group at a given time or may use other individuals to gain information or jointly come to choose an appropriate course of action.

Social-decision making (SDM) has long been studied in the fields of animal behavior, behavioral ecology and collective behavior. More recently, neuroscientists have begun to elucidate the brain processes underlying such decision making in animals. This work has identified numerous brain regions and networks involved in SDM that are distinct from decision making in other domains. Dependent on the species, these include brain regions involved in higher order processes (e.g. inferring mental states of others or comparing self to others) and lower order processes (e.g. social memory and social inhibition of emotional or impulsive behavior).

The convergence of behavioral and neuroscientific investigation of SDM has required the adaptation of novel neuroscientific methodologies, the generation of novel behavioral paradigms that facilitate the study of social groups in both the lab and the field as well as the utilization of diverse species from invertebrates to vertebrates to understand how evolutionary conserved social-decision making neural circuits are across taxa.

In this Research Topic, we will invite experts in the field to present original research work on the neural basis of animal SDM. The issue will consist of papers from multiple diverse species utilizing novel behavioral and neuroscientific methodologies.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 March 2018 Abstract
01 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 March 2018 Abstract
01 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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