White Matter and Social Cognition
Athanasia Metoki1, Yin Wang1, Kyie H. Alm1, Ingrid R. Olson1; 1Temple University, Department of Psychology
There is a growing consensus that social cognition and behavior emerge from interactions across distributed regions of the “social brain.” Researchers have traditionally focused their attention on functional response properties of these gray matter networks and neglected the vital role of white-matter connections in establishing such networks and their functions. In this study we conducted a comprehensive review of prior research on structural connectivity in social neuroscience to clarify structural connectivity underlying social cognition. We paid particular attention to three key social processes: face processing, embodied cognition, and theory of mind, and their respective underlying neural networks. Next, we implemented probabilistic tractography on a large sample of diffusion-weighted imaging data to define the particular tracts involved in each social process, as well as to examine overlap. Together, these findings provide us with an unprecedented, well-defined landscape of large white matter pathways underlying major social brain networks.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Person perception