Why is it so much fun to hang out with our friends? Why are some people so sociable while others are loners or seemingly outright allergic to interactions with others? A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine begins to provide an answer, pinpointing places and processes in the brain that promote socialization by providing pleasurable sensations when it occurs.
When Nirao Shah decided in 1998 to study sex-based differences in the brain using up-to-the-minute molecular tools, he didn’t have a ton of competition. But he did have a good reason. “I wanted to find and explore neural circuits that regulate specific behaviors,” says Shah, then a newly minted Caltech PhD who was beginning a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia.
Stanford researchers found that children as young as 4 years old, under certain conditions, can discern “sins of omission” – misleading but technically accurate information. The researchers found that the order in which information is presented makes a dramatic difference for the study’s youngest participants.