This event has already occurred.
Karli Watson, PhD
The Neurobiology of Primate Social Behavior
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Human and nonhuman primates alike are profoundly social. The ability to navigate a dynamic social environment therefore determines, in large part, the adaptive success of each individual. When social skills are compromised in humans, as in psychiatric disorders such as autism and anorexia nervosa, the result can be devastating. Dr. Watson will discuss the neural, genetic, and pathological mechanisms that account for variation in social behavior in both human and nonhuman primates. Specifically, she will explore the role of primate orbitofrontal cortex neurons in representing social and nonsocial rewards in a simple decision-making task; demonstrate how genetic polymorphisms that regulate serotonin signaling influence individual behavioral variation in response to social stimuli; and present data illustrating deficits in social cognition and attention in women with anorexia nervosa. Ongoing work seeks to understand the neural basis of social behavior and the underlying interoceptive processes, as well as the clinical impairments that occur when these systems are compromised.