Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Emotions Conference 2016 (12 of 20) | James K. Rilling | The Neural Correlates of Human Social Emotions in the Context of Reciprocal Altruism

Episode Summary

Emotions Conference 2016 (12 of 20) | James K. Rilling | The Neural Correlates of Human Social Emotions in the Context of Reciprocal Altruism

Episode Notes

In a now classic 1971 paper, Robert Trivers proposed that many human social emotions evolved in response to the need to negotiate relationships based on reciprocal altruism, which were likely crucial to the survival of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In the same paper, he argued that the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game could serve as a model for relationships based on reciprocal altruism. Over the past 15 years, our lab has utilized the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game paradigm in combination with fMRI to investigate the neural bases of human social emotions. We have described 1) neural responses to both reciprocated and unreciprocated cooperation, 2) sex differences in these responses, 3) modulation of these responses by psychopathic personality, 4) modulation of these responses by the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin, and 5) modulation of these responses by oxytocin receptor genotypes. In this talk, I will summarize and synthesize the above research, while also integrating findings from other research groups relevant to understanding the neural bases of human social emotions. (February 12, 2016)