(searched for: doi:10.1038/s41467-020-20039-w)
NeuroImage, Volume 227; doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117666
Social exclusion refers to the experience of being disregarded or rejected by others and has wide-ranging negative consequences for well-being and cognition. Cyberball, a game where a ball is virtually tossed between players, then leads to the exclusion of the research participant, is a common method used to examine the experience of social exclusion. The neural correlates of social exclusion remain a topic of debate, particularly with regards to the role of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the concept of social pain. Here we conducted a quantitative meta-analysis using activation likelihood estimation (ALE) to identify brain activity reliably engaged by social exclusion during Cyberball task performance (Studies = 53; total N = 1,817 participants). Results revealed consistent recruitment in ventral anterior cingulate and posterior cingulate cortex, inferior and superior frontal gyri, posterior insula, and occipital pole. No reliable activity was observed in dACC. Using a probabilistic atlas to define dACC, fewer than 15% of studies reported peak coordinates in dACC. Meta-analytic connectivity mapping suggests patterns of co-activation are consistent with the topography of the default network. Reverse inference for cognition associated with reliable Cyberball activity computed in Neurosynth revealed social exclusion to be associated with cognitive terms Social, Autobiographical, Mental States, and Theory of Mind. Taken together, these findings highlight the role of the default network in social exclusion and warns against interpretations of the dACC as a key region involved in the experience of social exclusion in humans.
Communications Biology, Volume 4, pp 1-14; doi:10.1038/s42003-020-01559-z
Complex social interplay is a defining property of the human species. In social neuroscience, many experiments have sought to first define and then locate ‘perspective taking’, ‘empathy’, and other psychological concepts to specific brain circuits. Seldom, bottom-up studies were conducted to first identify explanatory patterns of brain variation, which are then related to psychological concepts; perhaps due to a lack of large population datasets. In this spirit, we performed a systematic de-construction of social brain morphology into its elementary building blocks, involving ~10,000 UK Biobank participants. We explored coherent representations of structural co-variation at population scale within a recent social brain atlas, by translating autoencoder neural networks from deep learning. The learned subnetworks revealed essential patterns of structural relationships between social brain regions, with the nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex, and temporoparietal junction embedded at the core. Some of the uncovered subnetworks contributed to predicting examined social traits in general, while other subnetworks helped predict specific facets of social functioning, such as the experience of social isolation. As a consequence of our population-level evidence, spatially overlapping subsystems of the social brain probably relate to interindividual differences in everyday social life.