Size is important: areas of the brain and social connections are connected

Femelle adulte en contact avec son enfant, son adolescent et sa sœur. Cette image illustre le fait que les femelles macaques rhésus nouent des liens forts avec leurs proches.

You read this topic and you are challenged. To be honest, it is necessary to add a few words: “At least, in Mecca”. But it is also a research hypothesis in human neuroscience: if our social relationships are multiple, certain structures of our brain will be formed.

Researchers at INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) in France and Leon Claude Bernard Leon 1 University, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, have deepened this hypothesis by studying ethnic macs with a brain architecture close to humans. They observed animals in their normal state, in their social relationships, and analyzed the clinical picture of their brains. Conclusion: The number of friends of this animal was able to predict the size of certain parts of its brain, which are particularly related to social cognition and empathy. The results of their study have been published in the journal “Scientific advances“.

“Monkey Facebook”

How was the team able to observe the social relationships of the monkeys? Jermrôme Sallet, a researcher at Inserm, explains to us: “First, we made behavioral observations of monkeys living on the Caribbean island of Cayo Santiago. From these behavioral observations, we were able to recreate the social network within these monkeys. Was able to recreate. ” The number of friends, social status, and fame are all measured for these rhesus macaws. Upon receiving this information, the researchers wanted to see if there were morphological variations in the brain that were related to variations in the studied social parameters: in other words, if there was one that was more “popular” or “social”, more parts of the brain were created.

On the scanner

Once this information is available, individuals should be scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. There, suddenly, a link:Jerome Salad explains that in two areas of the brain, we had positive interactions: the more socially integrated we were, the more associates we deceived, and these areas were larger.“These are parts of the temporal cortex.

Cause or effect?

There, the author of these lines becomes a little psychotic. I say to myself that you say:But hey, do they have big areas of the brain because they have social relationships, or conversely do they have a lot of social relationships because of this developed size?

Very good question. Do social behaviors affect the size of the brain or in some other way? Another, older study provides analytical components. He showed that by altering the social environment of the laboratory monkey, it could induce changes in the structure of some parts of the brain, especially the areas of the brain found in this study.

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