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Common brain areas for processing physiologically and socially ‘needed’ stimuli
  • Juvenal Bosulu,
  • Yi Luo,
  • Hétu Sébastien
Juvenal Bosulu
Université de Montréal

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Yi Luo
East China Normal University The School of Psychology and Cognitive Science
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Hétu Sébastien
Université de Montréal
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The state of needing can be related to physiological and social stimuli. We investigated the overlap between brain areas related to perception of physiologically and socially needed stimuli and explored if this common pattern of brain activity might be related to regulation of serotonin levels. First, we conducted separate ALE meta-analyses on published results pertaining to brain activation patterns when participants perceived food while hungry or water while thirsty, and social interactions while being excluded. This allowed us to identify common consistent brain activation patterns for physiological and social needed stimuli. We found that regions within the mid-posterior insula, the anterior cingulate cortex and the caudate are at the intersection of physiological (hunger and thirst) and social (exclusion) aspects of ‘needing’. We also looked for significant spatial association between this common network and serotonin receptor distribution. and found that the highest positive spatial correlation among serotonin receptors was with the 5HT4 receptor. Our study suggests there is a common brain pattern during the processing of physiologically and socially needed stimuli. We discuss the spatial association between this pattern and serotonin receptors.