Neuroscientist investigates how our social lives affect our brains

Neuroscientist investigates how our social lives affect our brains
Zebra finches are highly sociable birds that live in a range of flock sizes, from pairs and small family groups (about 2 to 4 birds) to large aggregate flocks (up to 100 birds). Credit: Gloria Schoenholtz.

Want a healthy brain? Get a little help from your friends.

Research shows that social experiences can directly improve , as long as they don't become overly stressful, which can impair function.

This sweet spot of optimum social interaction is the research focus of Virginia Tech neurobiologist Kendra Sewall, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate.

Supported by a recent $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research, Sewall examines the correlation between social interaction and brain function in zebra finches—a highly sociable bird that lives in a range of flock sizes, from pairs and small family groups (2 to 4 birds) to large aggregate flocks (up to 100 birds).

Extensive social behavior, which often accompanies a large flock size, is associated with superior cognitive abilities, larger brains, and enhanced neuronal architecture.

However, if the social behavior becomes chronically stressful, perhaps due to overcrowding or competition, a stress hormone called glucocorticoid is produced. In high amounts, this hormone can impair neural plasticity and compromise brain function.

"This research will help us better understand the behaviors of wild birds living in populations at higher density due to habitat degradation and decreased food resources," said Sewall, who is also a faculty member with the new Global Change Center at Virginia Tech. "But it will also inform thinking about both beneficial and negative impacts of social experiences on human mental health in an age of increased brain-related disorders such as anxiety, depression, and autism. Human responses to social contact and stress mirror those of social animals such as zebra finches."

Sewall and her team rear in captivity and house birds in either large or small flocks to manipulate the amount of enriching social contact. Then, some birds are treated with stress hormones to mimic the negative effects of chronic social stress.

By comparing measures of neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity that are important for learning in from different treatment groups, Sewall's team will determine how the costs and benefits of directly impact brain function.

They will use new radio frequency identification technology to track individuals within groups and generate mathematical models of social dynamics to better understand the basis of individual variation in brain changes.


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Citation: Neuroscientist investigates how our social lives affect our brains (2015, June 25) retrieved 16 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-neuroscientist-social-affect-brains.html
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JVK
Jun 26, 2015
Brain on stress: How the social environment gets under the skin
http://www.pnas.o...80.short

Pheromones effect the hormones that affect behavior. The effects and affects are RNA-mediated via amino acid substitutions in all vertebrates. Theorists who do not understand the difference between 'effect' and 'affect' typically cannot understand the difference between mutations and amino acid substitutions.

Jun 26, 2015
Pheromones... Theorists who do not understand the difference between 'effect' and 'affect' typically cannot understand the difference between mutations and amino acid substitutions.
@jk
1- you don't understand the meaning of the word "mutation"
2- you've already failed at attempting to explain it to biologists
3- you haven't been able to prove with any credibility human pheromones either
http://rspb.royal...full.pdf

lastly: your own model requires mutations to work

i suggest getting an education first (and don't fail out this time)
i also suggest you quit with your appeals to self authority when you publish creationist dogma, which is NOT science

JVK
Jun 26, 2015
I cited Bruce McEwen work because he taught me the difference between effect and affect in the context of gene activation by sensory input that links the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in all genera.

See also: http://www.pnas.o...pdf+html

The authors note that on page 17184, right column, first paragraph, line 4, "effect" should instead appear as "affect."

Jun 30, 2015
I cited Bruce McEwen work because he taught me the difference between...
@jk
you've also historically cited Dr's Extavour and Whittaker as supporting evidence for your personal claims, to which a personal inquiry revealed you to be incapable of comprehending the science/biology in the papers, which made your claims worthless

Would you like me to repeat their replies to your claims?
or just link the comment sections where i passed on their claims to you proving you wrong?

as i stated elsewhere, your track record of "interpreting science" is a 100% FAILURE... every person that replied to inquiries requesting clarifications on your claims debunked your interpretations of their work as well as your claims and your insistence that your "model" is supported by their work


JVK
Jun 30, 2015
You elicited replies to what you claimed that I was claiming. Please address the difference between effect and affect. It's time to move on.

You've done nothing but repeat your ridiculous assertions despite all attempts to get you to focus on the accurate reporting of biologically based facts.

See also: http://rna-mediat...n-again/

Excerpt: Only the claims of how long it takes for one amino acid substitution to differentiate the cell types of a specific human population are questionable. When compared to the experimental evidence that showed the bacterial flagellum could "re-evolve" over-the-weekend, all claims of evolutionary theorists seem equally ridiculous.

Jun 30, 2015
You elicited replies to what you claimed that I was claiming
@jk
i sent you copies... please show where i didn't use your EXACT words... thanks!
also- both Dr's visited the site to see what you were talking about (as demonstrated already, but i can link that back to you again if you need it)
i did not "interpret" what you said, i used your own posts and words verbatim. no changes. no grammatical or spelling corrections. no alterations. no out of context quotes.
YOUR words
YOUR ideas
YOUR comments

what happened was the same thing that happens EVERY time someone replies about your claims: you were debunked and proven wrong
your record for accuracy is stunningly bad: you even cherry-pick articles and studies to post what you "THINK" something should say or should mean (like your quote about "nothing in biology makes sense ..." blah blah blah)

and you've already been advised about your ""re-evolve" over-the-weekend" study as well... and you ignored that too!

Jun 30, 2015

You've done nothing but repeat your ridiculous assertions
it is not an assertion if i can prove it, as i have already time and again

See also: http://rna-mediat...n-again/

THIS IS A PHISHING PSEUDOSCIENCE SITE PERSONALLY OWNED BY YOU AND USED TO PROMOTE PSEUDOSCIENCE AND RELIGIOUS DOGMA

SPAM
TROLLING
reported

every time you link your personal sites i will report you for spamming and trolling... and i will file a complaint to the site because of your personal promotions

if you can't link the science studies from a reputable source like a peer reviewed journal, then it is NOT SCIENCE... it is pseudoscience - just like your personal site which you've already proven contains religious creationist/7th day advent dogma and NOT 100% SCIENCE

JVK
Jun 30, 2015
every time you link your personal sites i will report you for spamming and trolling... and i will file a complaint to the site because of your personal promotions


Thanks.

RNA-mediated events link nutritional epigenetics from amino acid substitutions to the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man via the molecular epigenetics that biophysically constrain the physiology of their reproduction.

My domain(s) provide details of the facts and continue to report on current research that is cited and reviewed with my comments. By reporting me, you attest to the fact that you simply do not want others to learn anything about biologically-based cause and effect, which we detailed in a review: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior

http://www.hawaii...ion.html

See also: https://www.googl...mediated
https://www.googl...eromones

Jul 01, 2015
My domain(s) provide details of the facts and continue to report on current research that is cited and reviewed with my comments.
@jk
your "domain(s)" also include direct creationist claims and links to creationist dogma, which is called pseudoscience. there is no "half way" measures... you either submit SCIENCE or pseudoscience, and given your site includes pseudoscience, it cannot be considered anything but a pseudoscience site... it is not your place to "interpret" science in the light of a religion... the religion is about faith and following a dogma, not following EVIDENCE and changing mind as well as POV when the evidence points to the necessity - which is anathema to religion
By reporting me, you attest to the fact that you simply do not want others to learn anything about biologically-based cause and effect
WRONG AGAIN
i proved that you do not follow the guidelines of the site as well as that you promote RELIGION over science (ie- PSEUDOSCIENCE)


Jul 01, 2015
which we detailed in a review
@jk
if your "review" is in a reputable peer reviewed journal, you can link that instead of your personal site. those who actually WANT to read pseudoscience or religious dogma can further see your site... self promotion is all you have since you have NO science to actually contribute, as shown above.

just because you've had publications in the past doesn't mean that your religious dogma is legitimate NOR does it mean your pseudoscience is real... you are simply attempting to establish yourself as an "authority".... problem is: your "interpretations" of science to date on this site are completely wrong and follow religious dogma over actual evidence.

if you link legitimate sites, then no one will bother you about that (we will, however, request the authors clarify your "interpretations" though)... linking your spam/PHISHING site will get you reported as a TROLLING SPAMMER

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