Environmentally appropriate social behavior is critical for survival across the lifespan. To support this flexible behavior, the brain must rapidly perform numerous computations taking into account sensation, memory, motor-control, and many other systems. Further complicating this process, individuals must perform distinct social behaviors adapted to the unique demands of each developmental stage; indeed, the social behaviors of the newborn would not be appropriate in adulthood and vice versa. However, our understanding of the neural circuit transitions supporting these behavioral transitions has been limited. Recent advances in neural circuit dissection tools, as well as adaptation of these tools for use at early time points, has helped uncover several novel mechanisms supporting developmentally appropriate social behavior. This review, and associated Minisymposium, bring together social neuroscience research across numerous model organisms and ages. Together, this work highlights developmentally regulated neural mechanisms and functional transitions in the roles of the sensory cortex, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, habenula, and the thalamus to support social interaction from infancy to adulthood. These studies underscore the need for synthesis across varied model organisms and across ages to advance our understanding of flexible social behavior.

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This post is Copyright: Ferrara, N. C., Che, A., Briones, B., Padilla-Coreano, N., Lovett-Barron, M., Opendak, M. | November 9, 2023
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