Social and Affective Neuroscience

Choong-Wan Woo Chair
Sungkyunkwan University
Biomedical Engineering
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 
Korea, Republic of
Marius Braunsdorf Chair
Donders Centre for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Nijmegen, AK 
Thursday, Jun 27: 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Oral Sessions 
Room: Conference Room E 6 


More Than Close Friends: Higher Emotional Coordination in Romantic Relationships

Emotions are fundamental to social interaction and deeply intertwined with interpersonal dynamics (Nummenmaa et al., 2012), especially in romantic relationships, which are characterized by their deep emotional bonds (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Previous hyperscanning studies often entail interactive processes that are intricately intertwined with emotions (Barrett et al., 2007; Parkinson & Simons, 2009), posing a challenge to disentangle whether the observed neural synchronization reflects the emotions during the interaction or is intrinsic to the interaction itself. Moreover, studies have shown a strong association between relationship quality and emotional coordination (Larson & Almeida, 1999; Randall et al., 2013), thus warranting additional research in the romantic context. 

View Abstract 819


Yijun Chen, University of Science and Technology of China Hefei, Anhui 

Rotten to the core–a neural signature of subjective core disgust generalizes to sociomoral contexts

Recent affective and clinical neuroscience perspectives propose a paradigm shift towards subjective and conscious emotional experiences (Kyzar et al, 2023; LeDoux et al., 2017; Wager et al., 2018; Zhou et al., 2021). However, neurobiological models that accurately describe the respective neural representations are scarce. Disgust originates in the hard-wired mammalian distaste reflex, but in humans its conscious emotional experience is strongly shaped by subjective appraisal and may extend to sociomoral contexts. Here, we combined functional MRI with recent methodological advances in multivariate pattern analytic neural decoding techniques to develop an accurate and generalizable whole-brain signature predictive of momentary self-reported subjective disgust experience, and in turn utilize the neural disgust signature to test the evolutionary perspective on disgust. 

View Abstract 749


Xianyang Gan, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China Chengdu, Sichuan 

Rehumanizing the dehumanized: Neural responses for the unhoused using dimension-based rehumanization

Despite our need for societal inclusion and empathy, dehumanization is an affliction of society that undermines humanity. Functional neuroimaging (fMRI) studies show that unhoused individuals are prevalently dehumanized (Tan & Harris, 2021). Viewing pictures of unhoused individuals evokes neural activity commonly associated with disgust and reduced mentalizing (Harris & Fiske, 2006). In contrast, observing high status groups (e.g., white, middle class) evokes neural activity associated with positive humanized feelings, including increased activity in mentalizing and somatomotor regions relative to viewing unhoused individuals (Harris & Fiske, 2009). Whether it is possible to re-engage neural circuits to rehumanize the unhoused, and what dimensions may be particularly relevant, remains unknown. To this aim, we conducted an fMRI study to rehumanize perceptions of unhoused individuals, aimed at revealing informative dimensions for rehumanization and their neural correlates. 

View Abstract 841


Akila Kadambi, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 
United States

Functional Recruitment of the Cerebellum Supports the Emergence of Theory of Mind in Early Childhood

Although traditionally associated with motor processing, accumulating evidence suggests that the cerebellum is heavily implicated in social cognition, including Theory of Mind (ToM), i.e., the ability to infer the mental states of others (Frith & Frith, 2006). However, the role of the cerebellum in ToM development remains elusive, despite clinical evidence linking early-life cerebellar injury to dramatic and long-lasting social cognitive deficits (Olson et al., 2023). Here, we investigated the contribution of the cerebellum to the emergence of ToM in young children in the context of local functional activations and functional connectivity to the cerebral cortex. We expected to observe differences in the functional involvement of the cerebellum between children who have and have not yet developed ToM abilities, as well as between childhood and adulthood. 

View Abstract 800


Aikaterina Manoli, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig

Switching and Coordination of Survival Actions in the Human Hypothalamus

Comparative research suggests that the hypothalamus is critical in switching between survival states such as a switching between hunting and escaping. However, it is unclear if this is the case in humans due to the lack of naturalistic experimental paradigms that can investigate this question and the difficulty of investigating hypothalamic neural signals. 

View Abstract 709


Jaejoong Kim, University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN 
United States

Task induced dynamics of human bed nucleus of stria terminalis from direct neuronal recordings

The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a part of 'extended amygdala' [1], is densely connected with limbic structures, hypothalamic and brainstem nuclei. It plays a critical role in emotional processing especially fear, anxiety [2] and prosocial behaviour [3] with its dysfunction implicated in many psychiatric illnesses including major depression [4]. Yet, its functional dynamics remain poorly characterised in humans. 

View Abstract 746


Saurabh Sonkusare, University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom 
United Kingdom