The amygdala as a hub in brain networks that support social life

Neuropsychologia. 2014 Oct;63:235-48. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.08.013. Epub 2014 Aug 23.


A growing body of evidence suggests that the amygdala is central to handling the demands of complex social life in primates. In this paper, we synthesize extant anatomical and functional data from rodents, monkeys, and humans to describe the topography of three partially distinct large-scale brain networks anchored in the amygdala that each support unique functions for effectively managing social interactions and maintaining social relationships. These findings provide a powerful componential framework for parsing social behavior into partially distinct neural underpinnings that differ among healthy people and disintegrate or fail to develop in neuropsychiatric populations marked by social impairment, such as autism, antisocial personality disorder, and frontotemporal dementia.

Keywords: Amygdala; Networks; Social brain; Social life; Social network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception*