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Nature ; 586(7827): 95-100, 2020 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32968281


The direction of the eye gaze of others is a prominent social cue in primates and is important for communication1-11. Although gaze can signal threat and elicit anxiety6,12,13, it remains unclear whether it shares neural circuitry with stimulus value. Notably, gaze not only has valence, but can also serve as a predictor of the outcome of a social encounter, which can be either negative or positive2,8,12,13. Here we show that the neural codes for gaze and valence overlap in primates and that they involve two different mechanisms: one for the outcome and another for its expectation. Monkeys participated in the human intruder test13,14, in which a human participant had either a direct or averted gaze, interleaved with blocks of aversive and appetitive conditioning. We find that single neurons in the amygdala encode gaze15, whereas neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex encode the social context16, but not gaze. We identify a shared population in the amygdala for which the neural responses to direct and averted gaze parallel the responses to aversive and appetitive stimulus, respectively. Furthermore, we distinguish between two neural mechanisms-an overall-activity scheme that is used for gaze and the unconditioned stimulus, and a correlated-selectivity scheme that is used for gaze and the conditioned stimulus. These findings provide insights into the origins of the neural mechanisms that underlie the computations of both social interactions and valence, and could help to shed light on mechanisms that underlie social anxiety and the comorbidity between anxiety and impaired social interactions.