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.