Neuropsychopharmacology
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Regulation of social hierarchy learning by serotonin transporter availability

Publication Date Aug 9, 2022

Abstract

AbstractLearning one’s status in a group is a fundamental process in building social hierarchies. Although animal studies suggest that serotonin (5-HT) signaling modulates learning social hierarchies, direct evidence in humans is lacking. Here we determined the relationship between serotonin transporter (SERT) availability and brain systems engaged in learning social ranks combining computational approaches with simultaneous PET-fMRI acquisition in healthy males. We also investigated the link between SERT availability and brain activity in a non-social control condition involving learning the payoffs of slot machines. Learning social ranks was modulated by the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) 5-HT function. BOLD ventral striatal response, tracking the rank of opponents, decreased with DRN SERT levels. Moreover, this link was specific to the social learning task. These findings demonstrate that 5-HT plays an influence on the computations required to learn social ranks.

Concepts

Serotonin Transporter Availability Serotonin Transporter Dorsal Raphe Nucleus Social Hierarchies Transporter Availability Healthy Males Social Learning Direct Evidence Brain Activity Serotonin Signaling

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