Brain region tied to social memory found
Social memory--the term to describe how people view themselves as part of larger groups--has been linked to a small region of the hippocampus, according to research published in the journal Nature.
The researchers created a transgenic mouse in which CA2 neurons could be inhibited. Once inhibited, the mice were given a series of behavioral tests. Normally when a mouse encounters another mouse they’ve never met, they spend more time investigating it. However, mice with inactivated CA2 showed no preference for a novel mouse compared to a previously met mouse. That, the researchers noted, showed a lack of social memory.
Other tests demonstrated that the mice behaved normally in other situations, such as encountering a new object. They showed a normal preference for the novel object, which indicates that they did not have a global lack of interest in novelty.
Researchers say that a better grasp of the function of CA2 could be useful to understand disorders that are characterized by problems in social behavior, such as autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.