Social interactions shape the way we perceive, feel and learn about the world, and despite its importance for social species, we still know very little about how the brain computes social information. Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of how social behaviour shapes our brain, and for this, we focus on cooperative social interactions in rodents. We have demonstrated that Norway rats display prosocial behaviours in food foraging context, providing food to conspecifics, and identified the proximal mechanisms at the level of behaviour. Current and future projects aim to identify the neural circuits responsible for this fascinating social decision-making, using a combination of behavioural, anatomical, pharmacological, imaging and optogenetic tools in rodents.
Our lab is based at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology – University of Coimbra.
Image credits: adapted from rawpixel.com on Freepik