A survey conducted in the United States, and which was published in the scientific journal science advancefound that. number of The size of certain brain regions may be a determinant for a monkey’s social relationshipsSuch as those involved in empathy and social decision making.
According to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the discovery could help better understand human behavior as well as Explain neurodevelopmental disorders such as autismThe British newspaper The Independent tells.
“For the first time, we have been able to link the complexity of the social life of a group of living primates to the structure of the brain,” commented Camille Testard of the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the work.
Study analyzed 68 monkeys spanning more than a decade
Study researchers analyzed over a decade A group of 68 free rhesus macaques living on Cayo Santiago, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, Their focus was on individuals with in-group mates, which represent a direct and important relationship to primates.
For this work, five factors were taken into account: social status, number of grooming partners, physical distance with other monkeys, relationships with popular monkeys, and “in between” (a relationship between disconnected parts of a social group). Ability to act as a bridge). ,
The scientists also collected brain scans of all the animals, including 35 juveniles and children. From this, they found that the more scavenging partners they had, the larger the media-STS and ventral-dysgranular insula.
“It was very interesting to find these regions, because they are known to be important for social cognition in humans,” explained co-author of the research, Jerome Salette. “We also identified the middle STS region in another study, indicating that activity in this region is controlled by predictions of the behavior of others,” he said.
According to the researchers, the young monkeys were not born with these differences in brain structure. Which suggests that these variations arose with the evolution of animals.
“There is something about the skill needed to build and maintain a lot of friendships that come from parents. You might think it was written in your brain when you were born, but it seems more likely to come from your patterns and interactions,” explained Michael Platt, another co-author of the work. It is that if your mother is social and you have the ability to be social, your brain may have matured in a way that resembles the findings we discovered. It’s interesting.
Despite this, the scientists point out that modulation may also be strongly driven by the social environment, “perhaps more than our instincts.”
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