The research program in this application is concerned with the neural basis of social cognition. We propose to examine neocortical areas in and near the superior temporal sulcus (SIS), a region known for its ability to process the motion of living forms, integrate information from different sense modalities, and respond to agency and perspective taking. The STS region together with the amygdala, several parts of the frontal lobe, and other brain areas are thought to form a brain network dealing with social cognition. We propose to study the neural mechanisms of basic social cognition in humans and macaques by recording unisensory and multisensory responses elicited to social and non-social stimuli. We will study cross-species neural responses to visual, auditory and combined audiovisual stimulation. Apparent motion activation tasks depicting combined facial expressions and associated non-verbal vocalizations will be studied. We will use identical activation tasks to collect neurophysiological and neuroimaging data in human and macaque subjects. Event-related potential (ERP) recordings provide information with excellent time resolution - to millisecond precision, whereas neuroimaging techniques, such asfunctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provide accurate spatial information -to millimeter resolution. Combined fMRI and ERP measures in humans will provide an accurate picture of the brain circuits and temporal dynamics of social cognition. Under the identical experimental conditions, combined ERP and action potential recordings in macaques will identify the neuron populations and cellular processes indexed by the ERP measurements. Understanding how the healthy primate brain processes social information is important to understanding the biological bases for the social communication disorders (e.g. Asperger's syndrome, autism, schizophrenia), where severe impairments occur in reading social information from others. By using the same activation tasks and comparable methods in humans and monkeys we will be able to determine important similarities as well as differences in how the brain deals with relevant social information. Further, our multi-technique approach within each species will allow us to visualize where and when the brain activation manifests in the monkey and human brain.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-E (02))
Program Officer
Babcock, Debra J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Indiana University Bloomington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Latinus, Marianne; Love, Scott A; Rossi, Alejandra et al. (2015) Social decisions affect neural activity to perceived dynamic gaze. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 10:1557-67
Rossi, Alejandra; Parada, Francisco J; Kolchinsky, Artemy et al. (2014) Neural correlates of apparent motion perception of impoverished facial stimuli: a comparison of ERP and ERSP activity. Neuroimage 98:442-59
Brefczynski-Lewis, Julie; Lowitszch, Svenja; Parsons, Michael et al. (2009) Audiovisual non-verbal dynamic faces elicit converging fMRI and ERP responses. Brain Topogr 21:193-206
Hardee, Jillian E; Thompson, James C; Puce, Aina (2008) The left amygdala knows fear: laterality in the amygdala response to fearful eyes. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 3:47-54
Schroeder, Charles E; Lakatos, Peter; Kajikawa, Yoshinao et al. (2008) Neuronal oscillations and visual amplification of speech. Trends Cogn Sci 12:106-13
Puce, Aina; Epling, James A; Thompson, James C et al. (2007) Neural responses elicited to face motion and vocalization pairings. Neuropsychologia 45:93-106
Carrick, Olivia K; Thompson, James C; Epling, James A et al. (2007) It's all in the eyes: neural responses to socially significant gaze shifts. Neuroreport 18:763-6