Neurobiology of Social Behavior

Neurobiology of Social Behavior

Toward an Understanding of the Prosocial and Antisocial Brain

1st Edition - July 17, 2014

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  • Author: Michael Numan
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123914750
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124160408

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Social neuroscience is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field which is devoted to understanding how social behavior is regulated by the brain, and how such behaviors in turn influence brain and biology. Existing volumes either fail to take a neurobiological approach or focus on one particular type of behavior, so the field is ripe for a comprehensive reference which draws cross-behavioral conclusions. This authored work will serve as the market’s most comprehensive reference on the neurobiology of social behavior. The volume will offer an introduction to neural systems and genetics/epigenetics, followed by detailed study of a wide range of behaviors – aggression, sex and sexual differentiation, mating, parenting, social attachments, monogamy, empathy, cooperation, and altruism. Research findings on the neural basis of social behavior will be integrated across different levels of analysis, from molecular neurobiology to neural systems/behavioral neuroscience to fMRI imaging data on human social behavior. Chapters will cover research on both normal and abnormal behaviors, as well as developmental aspects.

Key Features

  • 2016 PROSE Category winner - Honorable Mention for Biomedicine and Neuroscience
  • Presents neurobiological analysis of the full spectrum of social behaviors, while other volumes focus on one particular behavior
  • Integrates and discusses research from different levels of analysis, including molecular/genetic, neural circuits and systems, and fMRI imaging research
  • Covers both normal and abnormal behaviors
  • Covers aggression, sex and sexual differentiation, mating, parenting, social attachments, empathy, cooperation, and altruism


Researchers and advanced students in behavioral, social and developmental neuroscience; clinical neuroscientists and research psychiatrists interested in neural basis of social behaviors; social psychologists

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. An Introduction to Neural Systems

    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. A Schematic Overview of the Mammalian Brain
    • 1.3. Functional Neuroanatomy
    • 1.4. Conclusions

    Chapter 2. Basic Genetics and Epigenetics

    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. Basic Genetics
    • 2.3. Basic Epigenetics
    • 2.4. Epigenetic Effects on Physiological and Behavioral Development
    • 2.5. Conclusions

    Chapter 3. Aggressive Behavior

    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Neural Systems of Offensive Aggression in Nonhuman Mammals
    • 3.3. Neurobiology of Impulsive or Affective Aggression in Humans
    • 3.4. Early Adverse Life Experiences, Genes, and the Development of Aggression
    • 3.5. Conclusions

    Chapter 4. Sexual Behaviors and Sexual Differentiation

    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. The Hormonal Basis of Sexual Behavior
    • 4.3. The Neurobiology of Male Sexual Behavior in Nonprimate Animals
    • 4.4. The Neurobiology of Female Sexual Behavior in Nonprimate Animals
    • 4.5. The Neurobiology of Sexual Behavior in Primates
    • 4.6. Sexual Differentiation and the Development of Sexual Behavior
    • 4.7. Conclusions

    Chapter 5. Parental Behavior

    • 5.1. Introduction
    • 5.2. Neural Systems Regulating Maternal Motivation in Rats
    • 5.3. Neural Systems and Maternal Behavior in Sheep: Maternal Responsiveness and the Formation of Selective Attachments
    • 5.4. Maternal Behavior in Nonhuman Primates
    • 5.5. Paternal and Alloparental Behavior
    • 5.6. Developmental Influences on the Maternal Behavior of Mammals
    • 5.7. The Neurobiology of Maternal Behavior in Humans
    • 5.8. General Conclusions

    Chapter 6. Monogamy and the Formation of Enduring Social Attachments between Mating Partners

    • 6.1. Introduction
    • 6.2. The Vole Model System
    • 6.3. OT and Vasopressin Neural Systems and the Regulation of Social Monogamy in Birds and Primates
    • 6.4. OT, Vasopressin, and Pair Bonding: Conclusions
    • 6.5. The Relationship of OT Neural Systems to Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Chapter 7. Human Sociality

    • 7.1. Introduction
    • 7.2. An Evolutionary Perspective
    • 7.3. Important Points from Previous Chapters
    • 7.4. The Insular Cortex and Empathy: A Potential Starting Point through Which Feeling States Influence Prosocial Behaviors
    • 7.5. Oxytocin and Human Prosociality
    • 7.6. Human Prosociality: Conclusions
    • 7.7. Psychopathy: A Breakdown of Prosocial Neural Circuits That Results in Antisocial Behavior
    • 7.8. Epilogue

Product details

  • No. of pages: 358
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2014
  • Published: July 17, 2014
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123914750
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124160408

About the Author

Michael Numan

Michael Numan received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). Most of his research, which focuses on the neural mechanisms regulating maternal behavior, was conducted while he was a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at Boston College. He is the author of a previous book, with Thomas Insel, The Neurobiology of Parental Behavior. He lives with his wife, Marilyn, in the Santa Fe-Albuquerque region of New Mexico.

Affiliations and Expertise

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS)

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