Functional neuroimaging and brain dynamics of complex social decision making

Location : Rotunde, Cartesium, Enrique-Schmidt-Str. 5, 28359 Bremen
Start Time : 05. June 2024, 16:15
End Time : 05. June 2024, 18:00

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Fehr
Universität Bremen


There is a variety of well-thought-out models explaining important aspects of the development of complex social decision behaviour in humans. These models address biophysiological, genetical, contextual, socialisatory, internal trait and state conditions, and other potential modulators of social development, current status, and predictors. There is some neuroscientific evidence that substantiate several model assumptions regarding functional neuroanatomy. Considering the apparent complexity of social decision behaviour (e.g., in pro-social and threatening contexts), it appears appropriate to follow a principle rather than a phenomenological concept, as the latter bear the risk of losing itself in an infinite number of possible examples. The principle concept suggested in the present talk, relies on a given genetic makeup, providing rudimentary abilities of behaviours that can be shaped and evolve according to socially relevant perception-action concepts at different complexity levels during lifelong experience. Thus, concepts of complex social decision behaviours are not assumed to be given from the start, but their neural establishment can be facilitated by adverse internal and external developmental conditions. Consistently, involvement of highly plastic and individually recruited heteromodal association cortices during the processing of complex social interaction scenarios have been shown, in support of this idea. Future research studies are suggested to keep the variety of experimental perspectives, but also testing for validity and reliability of their cross-sectional approaches by longitudinal designs and a consequent consideration of external variables to explain and validate respective neurophysiological effects. They are further suggested to develop methodological approaches to more adequately and sufficiently describe the complex neurophysiological phenomenology of different kinds of social behaviours in samples coming from different developmental cohorts and groups.