1932

Abstract

Rapid advances in the neural control of social behavior highlight the role of interconnected nodes engaged in differential information processing to generate behavior. Many innate social behaviors are essential to reproductive fitness and therefore fundamentally different in males and females. Programming these differences occurs early in development in mammals, following gonadal differentiation and copious androgen production by the fetal testis during a critical period. Early-life programming of social behavior and its adult manifestation are separate but yoked processes, yet how they are linked is unknown. This review seeks to highlight that gap by identifying four core mechanisms (epigenetics, cell death, circuit formation, and adult hormonal modulation) that could connect developmental changes to the adult behaviors of mating and aggression. We further propose that a unique social behavior, adolescent play, bridges the preweaning to the postpubertal brain by engaging the same neural networks underpinning adult reproductive and aggressive behaviors.

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2023-07-10
2024-04-22
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