Humans depend on social structures that range from dyads and families to groups, communities, and cultures. These structures likely evolved hand in hand with the neural, neuroendocrine, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that support them because the consequent social behaviors helped these organisms survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long rnough that they too reproduced. Social neuroscience is a field of research that has grown over the past two decades to investigate these neural, neuroendocrine, cellular, and genetic mechanisms and the social structures, factors, and processes with which they interface.

This award provides NSF funding for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to attend an upcoming conference on Social Neuroscience that will bring together scientists from the United States, Europe, and Asia, speaking on the topics 1) Imaging, lesion, and behavioral studies of social cognition; 2) Neurobiology of affiliative behavior; 3) Social perception; 4) Neural bases and neuro-embodiment of social processes; and 5) Neural bases of real-time social interactions. The junior investigators funded to attend this conference will be exposed to cutting edge research in social neuroscience and will have their own work showcased during a special poster session. The product of the conference will be an edited volume submitted to MIT Press for the Social Neuroscience Book Series.

Project Report

. John T. Cacioppo (Principal Investigator.) (11/17/2010-10/30/2011) The grant supported travel and lodging for nine trainees to attend the Utrecht meeting on Opportunities and Challenges in Social Neuroscience, held at the Geertekerk, Geertekerkhof in Utrecht, Netherlands (, on March 21-°©??23, 2011 ( There were 140 participants from 38 different universities in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. In addition to three days of plenary talks by 15 distinguished scientists, there were 46 poster presentations (including posters by the students from the United States whose travel were sponsored by the National Science Foundation) on Tuesday afternoon. Each invited speaker from the U.S. identified one U.S. graduate student or postdoctoral fellow to participate in the meeting. The nine trainees (and mentors) were as follows: 1. Nathan Arbuckle, Ohio State University (Wil Cunningham) 2. Laura Loesch, Cal Tech (Ralph Adolphs) 3. Elizabeth Majka, University of Chicago (John Cacioppo) 4. Meera Modi, Emory University (Larry Young) 5. Greg Norman, University of Chicago (Gary Berntson) 6. Bret Pasch, University of Texas (Steve Phelps) 7. Keith Senholzi, University of Colorado (Tiffany Ito) 8. Benjamin Suttari, Florida Atlantic University (Scott Kelso) 9. Sara Verosky, Princeton University (Alex Todorov) One of these trainees, Bret Pasch, had a family crisis just before the meeting and did not make the trip. The remaining eight trainees attended and participated inthe meeting. The meeting was organized by Gu?n Semin and the Faculty of the Social and Behavioural Sciences of Utrecht University in collaboration with John Cacioppo and the Center for Cognitive an Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. The meeting was sponsored primarily by the Neuroscience and Cognition Initiative at Utrecht University (NCUtrecht) and the National Initiative on Brain & Cognition of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, with additional support provided by the Society for Social Neuroscience, the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, and the National Science Foundation (with funds from NSF used exclusively to cover the cost of nine U.S. graduate students to attend the conference). When funding from the National Science Foundation was acquired to support the travel of these eight students, we realized the importance of giving these students a chance to meet and interact with the invited speakers and with one another. We therefore secured funding from the Queen’s Commissioner in the Province of Utrecht to hold a reception on Monday afternoon. Frits Lintmeijer, the Alderman of the Municipal Executive Board of the City of Utrecht, welcomed the speakers to the conference on Sunday, March 20, and Yvonne van Rooy, the President of Utrecht University, opened the Conference on Monday morning, March 21 Each of the students whose travel was supported by NSF was asked to prepare a brief summary of what they learned by their participation in the meeting. Perusal of these reports suggests that themeeting was regarded to be a uniformly positive experience.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Betty H. Tuller
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University of Chicago
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