Vasotocin, Vasopressin and the Evolution of Social Brain Circuits

  • 9/20/2012 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Location: Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020
  • Event Type: Seminar

Vasotocin, Vasopressin and the Evolution of Social Brain CircuitsBIOLOGY DEPARTMENT WEEKLY SEMINAR SERIES

Richmond Thompson, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of Neuroscience Program "Vasotocin, Vasopressin and the Evolution of Social Brain Circuits"

My research focuses on how the brain processes social stimuli and on how it uses that information to organize behavioral output, especially emotional interactions between individuals. In particular, I am interested in the effects of sex steroids on brain structures that process social signals and that organize sexual and aggressive behaviors and in the role that neuropeptide brain circuits play in the modulation of social behavior. I have worked with several avian species (Japanese quail, zebra finches), an amphibian (roughskin newts), a teleost fish (goldfish) and a mammal (humans). I have used this comparative approach because I believe it is necessary to study species from a wide range of vertebrate groups in order to fully understand the general, mechanistic principles associated with the regulation of social behavior in vertebrates, as well as to appreciate how specializations of those fundamental systems have made species-specific patterns of social behavior possible in different organisms, including humans. I also use many different tools to answer these questions, including behavioral, neuroanatomical and molecular techniques.