A Neural Signature of Affiliative Emotion in the Human Septohypothalamic Area

J. Moll, P. Bado, R. de Oliveira-Souza, I. E. Bramati, D. O. Lima, F. F. Paiva, J. R. Sato, F. Tovar-Moll, R. Zahn
2012 Journal of Neuroscience  
Comparative studies have established that a number of structures within the rostromedial basal forebrain are critical for affiliative behaviors and social attachment. Lesion and neuroimaging studies concur with the importance of these regions for attachment and the experience of affiliation in humans as well. Yet it remains obscure whether the neural bases of affiliative experiences can be differentiated from the emotional valence with which they are inextricably associated at the experiential
more » ... t the experiential level. Here we show, using functional MRI, that kinship-related social scenarios evocative of affiliative emotion induce septal-preoptic-anterior hypothalamic activity that cannot be explained by positive or negative emotional valence alone. Our findings suggest that a phylogenetically conserved ensemble of basal forebrain structures, especially the septohypothalamic area, may play a key role in enabling human affiliative emotion. Our finding of a neural signature of human affiliative experience bears direct implications for the neurobiological mechanisms underpinning impaired affiliative experiences and behaviors in neuropsychiatric conditions.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.6508-11.2012 pmid:22956840 pmcid:PMC6621241 fatcat:ngykn6gijnbuvh27sjekjzmcuq