Driving Sustainable Development
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EFFORTS OF UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBAEfforts of University of Tsukuba

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Project

The social brain: The role of hormones on the formation of social bonding, KIZUNA

Summary

We are living in highly information-based and greatly diversified society, and experiencing a lack of interpersonal communication and difficulties understanding each other in daily life. Many of the problems in the modern society may be largely due to inability to maintain appropriate behavioral and emotional relationships with other people. Establishing and maintaining stable interpersonal relationships is critical for all human activity and physical and mental health, and understanding the underlying brain mechanisms is the most important and urgent task.

 

To this date, these issues have been approached mainly from sociological and psychological perspectives, and contributions of life sciences have been limited. In this research unit, we are promoting new integrated basic research toward a comprehensive understanding of social affiliation to specific individuals. We are particularly interested in investigating neurobiological basis of psychological and physiological phenomena related to establishment, maintenance, transformation and regeneration of emotional and physical bonding.

 

We will conduct bidirectional research project from mouse to human and vice-versa for this purpose. Specifically, we will

1) determine the expression of specific proteins in the brain that play a role in formation and maintenance of parent-child and peer relationships, by linking behavioral analysis of genetically modified mice with human polymorphism analysis.

2) focus on the organizational action (hormonal action on the sexual differentiation and development of sex-typical neural networks during perinetal and pubertal periods) and activational action (hormonal action on the fully developed brain networks to control behavioral expression through physiological and biochemical regulation of brain function) of sex steroid hormones, and analyze the roles of estrogen receptors and their mechanisms of action in the brain in each of organizational and activational action.

3) conduct experimental psychological and neurophysiological analysis of the function of brain molecules that control social cognition and the related underlying emotional responses and states.

4) Identify neurobiological basis and emotional-cognitive mechanisms of establishment and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, including neuroendocrine-related factors that contribute to individual differences in social behavior.

 

Through these studies, we will establish “social behavioral neuroendocrinology”, a new and the most powerful interdisciplinary research field to provide persuasive strategies for the restoration and revitalization of positive human relationships in our society. Life-ling action of hormones on the social neural networks plays a major role for the regulation of affiliative behavior in humans (i.e., KIZUNA). Our research on the neurobiological basis of social behaviors such as sexual, maternal, paternal, aggressive and affiliative, will greatly contribute to advance our knowledge and understanding of human social behavior and provide solutions for various problems derived from a lack of proper human relationships in our society.

 

http://www.kansei.tsukuba.ac.jp/~ogawalab/

http://www.kansei.tsukuba.ac.jp/~ogawalab/?lang=en

Company
Behavioral Neuroscience on the Hormonal Basis of Social Behavior
Main member

OGAWA Sonoko

Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

Constantine Pavlides

Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

Larry Young

Professor, Emory University, USA

Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

TAKAHASHI Aki

Associate Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

Zuoxin Wang

Professor, Florida State University, USA

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