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[Neuroscience] Social status cognitive centre?

Mark Thomas m.thomas57 at ntlworld.com
Fri Aug 19 13:21:19 EST 2005

I am interested in the evolution of human social behaviour and wonder
if there is any literature on a cognitive centre for the modelling of
social status.

It has occured to me that the ability to model relative social status
i.e. where we stand in relation to others must be a central brain
function for social primates, like ourselves.

Social primates need to be able to learn the relative social status of
other individuals and then react to them appropriately, either with
submissive or dominant behaviour.

I see that brain mapping techniques have revealed that the hippocampus
(the cornu ammonis and the dentate gyrus) is involved in learning
face/name pairs.

Does anyone know of experiments to discover which part of the brain is
active when the faces presented are of individuals with social status
that is important to the subject?

It seems likely to me that a social status centre exists and that it
would have exert a high degree of control over other behavioural
centres, especially mood etc e.g. elation and depression being
controlled by perception of social status.

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