Comparative Neurobiology of Social Bonds - from Rodents to Primates to Humans

Colloquium | March 12 | 12:10-1:10 p.m. | 3105 Tolman Hall

 Karen Bales, Department of Psychology, UC Davis

 Department of Psychology

Social bonds are critical to human health and well-being. However, most of what we know regarding the neurobiology of strong, selective social bonds ("pair-bonds") comes from a socially monogamous rodent, the prairie vole. In my laboratory, we also study a socially monogamous primate, the titi monkey, as a model for the neurobiology of pair bond formation and maintenance. We have characterized the central oxytocin and vasopressin receptors in titi monkeys, as well as in both neurotypical humans and persons with autism. Using these data, pharmacological manipulations of oxytocin, vasopressin, opioids, dopamine, and serotonin, and functional imaging data in titi monkeys, we have attempted to build a testable model of the similarities and differences between rodent and primate pair bonding.