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Neuron. 2013 Oct 30;80(3):816-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.038.

Toward a neural basis for social behavior.

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Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. Electronic address:


Nearly 25 years ago, the shared interests of psychologists and biologists in understanding the neural basis of social behavior led to the inception of social neuroscience. In the past decade, this field has exploded, in large part due to the infusion of studies that use fMRI. At the same time, tensions have arisen about how to prioritize a diverse range of questions and about the authority of neurobiological data in answering them. The field is now poised to tackle some of the most interesting and important questions about human and animal behavior but at the same time faces uncertainty about how to achieve focus in its research and cohesion among the scientists who tackle it. The next 25 years offer the opportunity to alleviate some of these growing pains, as well as the challenge of answering large questions that encompass the nature and bounds of diverse social interactions (in humans, including interactions through the internet); how to characterize, and treat, social dysfunction in psychiatric illness; and how to compare social cognition in humans with that in other animals.

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