Project 3- Identifying how social experience is used to direct goal-directed action

A key question posed by the Conte Center award is how oxytocin modulates the flow of information across brain regions involved in processing reward-in particular, the rewarding properties of social interaction-to facilitate learning and memory and adaptive decision making. This question cannot be answered without a clear understanding of the architecture of social value networks. We aim to identify neuronal projections that endow social interactions with positive value, and to determine how that value can be transferred to external rewards to influence adaptive decision making. Understanding these processes could shed light onto disorders in which social interaction lacks reinforcing value (e.g., autism, schizophrenia).