Skip to main content

The Social Context Network Model in Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Social Behavior from Rodents to Humans

Part of the book series: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences ((CTBN,volume 30))

Abstract

The role of contextual modulations has been extensively studied in basic sensory and cognitive processes. However, little is known about their impact on social cognition, let alone their disruption in disorders compromising such a domain. In this chapter, we flesh out the social context network model (SCNM), a neuroscientific proposal devised to address the issue. In SCNM terms, social context effects rely on a fronto-temporo-insular network in charge of (a) updating context cues to make predictions, (b) consolidating context–target associative learning, and (c) coordinating internal and external milieus. First, we characterize various social cognition domains as context-dependent phenomena. Then, we review behavioral and neural evidence of social context impairments in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), highlighting their relation with key SCNM hubs. Next, we show that other psychiatric and neurological conditions involve context-processing impairments following damage to the brain regions included in the model. Finally, we call for an ecological approach to social cognition assessment, moving beyond widespread abstract and decontextualized methods.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Adolphs R (2009) The social brain: neural basis of social knowledge. Annu Rev Psychol 60:693–716. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163514

    Google Scholar 

  • Apicella P (2007) Leading tonically active neurons of the striatum from reward detection to context recognition. Trends Neurosci 30:299–306. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2007.03.011

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Ibanez A (2014) The effects of context processing on social cognition impairments in adults with Asperger’s syndrome. Front Neurosci 8:270. doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00270

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Rattazzi A, Gonzalez-Gadea ML, Torralva T, Vigliecca NS, Decety J, Ibanez A (2012) Integrating intention and context: assessing social cognition in adults with Asperger syndrome. Front Hum Neurosci 6:302. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00302

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Herrera E, Villarin L, Theil D, Gonzalez-Gadea ML, Gomez P, Ibanez AM (2013) Contextual social cognition impairments in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. PLoS ONE 8:e57664. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057664

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Couto B, Torralva T, Sposato LA, Huepe D, Montanes P, Ibanez A (2014a) Comparing moral judgments of patients with frontotemporal dementia and frontal stroke. JAMA Neurol 71:1172–1176. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.347

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Manes F, Huepe D, Torralva T, Fiorentino N, Richter F, Ibanez A (2014b) Primary empathy deficits in frontotemporal dementia. Front Aging Neurosci 6:262. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00262

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Herrera E, Gershanik O, Garcia AM, Bocanegra Y, Kargieman L, Ibanez A (2015a) Impairments in negative emotion recognition and empathy for pain in Huntington’s disease families. Neuropsychologia 68:158–167. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.012

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Kanske P, Matallana D, Montanes P, Reyes P, Slachevsky A, Ibanez A (2015b) Integration of intention and outcome for moral judgment in frontotemporal dementia: brain structural signatures. Neurodegenerative Dis. doi:10.1159/000441918

    Google Scholar 

  • Baez S, Morales JP, Slachevsky A, Torralva T, Matus C, Manes F, Ibanez A (2015c) Orbitofrontal and limbic signatures of empathic concern and intentional harm in the behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Cortex J Devoted Study Nerv Syst Behav 75:20–32. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.11.007

    Google Scholar 

  • Bar M (2004) Visual objects in context. Nat Rev Neurosci 5:617–629. doi:10.1038/nrn1476

    Google Scholar 

  • Baron-Cohen S, Wheelwright S (2004) The empathy quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. J Autism Dev Disord 34:163–175

    Google Scholar 

  • Barrett LF, Mesquita B, Gendron M (2011) Context in emotion perception. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 20:286–290

    Google Scholar 

  • Bearden CE, Hoffman KM, Cannon TD (2001) The neuropsychology and neuroanatomy of bipolar affective disorder: a critical review. Bipolar Disord 3:106–150 (discussion 151-103)

    Google Scholar 

  • Bird G, Silani G, Brindley R, White S, Frith U, Singer T (2010) Empathic brain responses in insula are modulated by levels of alexithymia but not autism. Brain J Neurol 133:1515–1525. doi:10.1093/brain/awq060

    Google Scholar 

  • Bouton ME, Westbrook RF, Corcoran KA, Maren S (2006) Contextual and temporal modulation of extinction: behavioral and biological mechanisms. Biol Psychiatry 60:352–360. doi:10.1016/S0006-3223(06)00099-0

    Google Scholar 

  • Burgess P, Wu H (2013) Rostral prefrontal cortex (brodmann area 10): metacognition in the brain. In: Stuss D, Knight RA (eds) Principles frontal lobe function. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 524–534

    Google Scholar 

  • Burgess PW, Alderman N, Volle E, Benoit RG, Gilbert SJ (2009) Mesulam’s frontal lobe mystery re-examined. Restor Neurol Neurosci 27:493–506. pii: 3645W28847411K64)

    Google Scholar 

  • Cheng W, Rolls ET, Gu H, Zhang J, Feng J (2015) Autism: reduced connectivity between cortical areas involved in face expression, theory of mind, and the sense of self. Brain J Neurol 138:1382–1393. doi:10.1093/brain/awv051

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohn M, St-Laurent M, Barnett A, McAndrews MP (2015) Social inference deficits in temporal lobe epilepsy and lobectomy: risk factors and neural substrates. Social Cogn Affect Neurosci 10:636–644. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu101

    Google Scholar 

  • Couto B, Sedeno L, Sposato LA, Sigman M, Riccio PM, Salles A, Ibanez A (2013) Insular networks for emotional processing and social cognition: comparison of two case reports with either cortical or subcortical involvement. Cortex J Devoted Study Nerv Syst Behav 49:1420–1434. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2012.08.006

    Google Scholar 

  • Craig AD (2009) How do you feel–now? The anterior insula and human awareness. Nat Rev Neurosci 10:59–70. doi:10.1038/nrn2555

    Google Scholar 

  • Critchley HD, Wiens S, Rotshtein P, Ohman A, Dolan RJ (2004) Neural systems supporting interoceptive awareness. Nat Neurosci 7:189–195. doi:10.1038/nn1176

    Google Scholar 

  • Falkmer M, Bjällmark A, Larsson M, Falkmer T (2011) Recognition of facially expressed emotions and visual search strategies in adults with Asperger syndrome. Res Autism Spectrum Disord 5:210–217. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2010.03.013

    Google Scholar 

  • Fleming SM, Dolan RJ (2012) The neural basis of metacognitive ability. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Ser B Biol sci 367:1338–1349. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0417

    Google Scholar 

  • Fogelson N, Shah M, Scabini D, Knight RT (2009) Prefrontal cortex is critical for contextual processing: evidence from brain lesions. Brain 132:3002–3010. doi:10.1093/brain/awp230

  • Fox MD, Corbetta M, Snyder AZ, Vincent JL, Raichle ME (2006) Spontaneous neuronal activity distinguishes human dorsal and ventral attention systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:10046–10051. doi:10.1073/pnas.0604187103

    Google Scholar 

  • Friston KJ (2012) The history of the future of the Bayesian brain. Neuroimage 62:1230–1233. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.10.004

    Google Scholar 

  • Furman DJ, Waugh CE, Bhattacharjee K, Thompson RJ, Gotlib IH (2013) Interoceptive awareness, positive affect, and decision making in major depressive disorder. J Affect Disord 151:780–785. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.044

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia AM, Ibanez A (2014) Two-person neuroscience and naturalistic social communication: the role of language and linguistic variables in brain-coupling research. Front Psychiatry 5:124. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00124

    Google Scholar 

  • Gonzalez-Gadea ML, Herrera E, Parra M, Gomez Mendez P, Baez S, Manes F, Ibanez A (2014) Emotion recognition and cognitive empathy deficits in adolescent offenders revealed by context-sensitive tasks. Front Hum Neurosci 8:850. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00850

    Google Scholar 

  • Greene AJ, Gross WL, Elsinger CL, Rao SM (2006) An FMRI analysis of the human hippocampus: inference, context, and task awareness. J Cogn Neurosci 18:1156–1173. doi:10.1162/jocn.2006.18.7.1156

    Google Scholar 

  • Hesse E, Mikulan E, Decety J, Sigman M, Garcia MD, Silva W, Ibanez A (2015) Early detection of intentional harm in the human amygdala. Brain J Neurol. doi:10.1093/brain/awv336

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibanez A, Manes F (2012) Contextual social cognition and the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia. Neurology 78:1354–1362

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibanez A, Gleichgerrcht E, Manes F (2010) Clinical effects of insular damage in humans. Brain Struct Funct 214:397–410. doi:10.1007/s00429-010-0256-y

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibanez A, Kuljis RO, Matallana D, Manes F (2014) Bridging psychiatry and neurology through social neuroscience. World Psychiatry 13:148–149. doi:10.1002/wps.20125

    Google Scholar 

  • Johns M, Schmader T, Lickel B (2005) Ashamed to be an American? The role of identification in predicting vicarious shame for anti-arab prejudice after 9-11. Self Identity 4:331–348. doi:10.1080/15298860500145822

    Google Scholar 

  • Kennedy DP, Adolphs R (2012) The social brain in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Trends Cogn Sci 16:559–572. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2012.09.006

    Google Scholar 

  • Klin A (2000) Attributing social meaning to ambiguous visual stimuli in higher-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome: the social attribution task. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 41:831–846

    Google Scholar 

  • Kosaka H, Omori M, Munesue T, Ishitobi M, Matsumura Y, Takahashi T, Wada Y (2010) Smaller insula and inferior frontal volumes in young adults with pervasive developmental disorders. Neuroimage 50:1357–1363. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.085

    Google Scholar 

  • Krach S, Kamp-Becker I, Einhauser W, Sommer J, Frassle S, Jansen A, Paulus FM (2015) Evidence from pupillometry and fMRI indicates reduced neural response during vicarious social pain but not physical pain in autism. Hum Brain Mapp 36:4730–4744. doi:10.1002/hbm.22949

    Google Scholar 

  • Lamm C, Batson CD, Decety J (2007) The neural substrate of hum empathy: effects of perspective-taking and cognitive appraisal. J Cogn Neurosci 19:42–58. doi:10.1162/jocn.2007.19.1.42

    Google Scholar 

  • Landa RJ, Goldberg MC (2005) Language, social, and executive functions in high functioning autism: a continuum of performance. J Autism Dev Disord 35:557–573. doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0001-1

    Google Scholar 

  • Lough S, Kipps CM, Treise C, Watson P, Blair JR, Hodges JR (2006) Social reasoning, emotion and empathy in frontotemporal dementia. Neuropsychologia 44:950–958. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.08.009

    Google Scholar 

  • Manes F, Torralva T, Ibanez A, Roca M, Bekinschtein T, Gleichgerrcht E (2011) Decision-making in frontotemporal dementia: clinical, theoretical and legal implications. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 32:11–17. doi:10.1159/000329912

    Google Scholar 

  • Masten CL, Morelli SA, Eisenberger NI (2011) An fMRI investigation of empathy for ‘social pain’ and subsequent prosocial behavior. NeuroImage 55:381–388. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.060

    Google Scholar 

  • Melloni M, Lopez V, Ibanez A (2014) Empathy and contextual social cognition. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 14:407–425. doi:10.3758/s13415-013-0205-3

    Google Scholar 

  • Mesulam MM (1986) Frontal cortex and behavior. Ann Neurol 19:320–325. doi:10.1002/ana.410190403

    Google Scholar 

  • Mesulam MM (2002) The human frontal lobes: transcending the default mode through contingent encoding. Principle Frontal Lobe Funct 1:8–31

    Google Scholar 

  • Moran JM, Young LL, Saxe R, Lee SM, O’Young D, Mavros PL, Gabrieli JD (2011) Impaired theory of mind for moral judgment in high-functioning autism. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:2688–2692. doi:10.1073/pnas.1011734108

    Google Scholar 

  • Muller-Pinzler L, Rademacher L, Paulus FM, Krach S (2015) When your friends make you cringe: social closeness modulates vicarious embarrassment-related neural activity. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv130

    Google Scholar 

  • Ozonoff S, Pennington BF, Rogers SJ (1991) Executive function deficits in high-functioning autistic individuals: relationship to theory of mind. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 32:1081–1105

    Google Scholar 

  • Paulus FM, Muller-Pinzler L, Jansen A, Gazzola V, Krach S (2015) Mentalizing and the role of the posterior superior temporal sulcus in sharing others’ embarrassment. Cereb Cortex 25:2065–2075. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu011

    Google Scholar 

  • Piguet O, Hornberger M, Mioshi E, Hodges JR (2011) Behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia: diagnosis, clinical staging, and management. Lancet Neurol 10:162–172. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(10)70299-4

    Google Scholar 

  • Redcay E, Dodell-Feder D, Mavros PL, Kleiner M, Pearrow MJ, Triantafyllou C, Saxe R (2013) Atypical brain activation patterns during a face-to-face joint attention game in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Hum Brain Mapp 34:2511–2523. doi:10.1002/hbm.22086

    Google Scholar 

  • Sasson NJ, Pinkham AE, Weittenhiller LP, Faso DJ, Simpson C (2015) Context effects on facial affect recognition in schizophrenia and autism: behavioral and eye-tracking evidence. Schizophr Bull. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbv176

    Google Scholar 

  • Schilbach L, Eickhoff SB, Cieslik EC, Kuzmanovic B, Vogeley K (2012) Shall we do this together? Social gaze influences action control in a comparison group, but not in individuals with high-functioning autism. Autism Int J Res Pract 16:151–162. doi:10.1177/1362361311409258

    Google Scholar 

  • Schilbach L, Timmermans B, Reddy V, Costall A, Bente G, Schlicht T, Vogeley K (2013) Toward a second-person neuroscience. Behav Brain Sci 36:393–414. doi:10.1017/S0140525X12000660

    Google Scholar 

  • Sedeno L, Couto B, Garcia-Cordero I, Melloni M, Baez S, Morales JP, … Ibanez, A (2015) Brain network organization and social executive performance in frontotemporal dementia. J Int Neuropsychol Soc JINS 22:250–262. doi:10.1017/S1355617715000703

  • Seeley WW, Crawford RK, Zhou J, Miller BL, Greicius MD (2009) Neurodegenerative diseases target large-scale human brain networks. Neuron 62:42–52. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.03.024

    Google Scholar 

  • Seth AK, Suzuki K, Critchley HD (2011) An interoceptive predictive coding model of conscious presence. Front Psychol 2:395. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00395

    Google Scholar 

  • Sigala N, Kusunoki M, Nimmo-Smith I, Gaffan D, Duncan J (2008) Hierarchical coding for sequential task events in the monkey prefrontal cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:11969–11974. doi:10.1073/pnas.0802569105

    Google Scholar 

  • Singer T, Seymour B, O’Doherty JP, Stephan KE, Dolan RJ, Frith CD (2006) Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature 439:466–469. doi:10.1038/nature04271

    Google Scholar 

  • Singer T, Critchley HD, Preuschoff K (2009) A common role of insula in feelings, empathy and uncertainty. Trends Cogn Sci 13:334–340. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(09)00135-1

    Google Scholar 

  • Todorov A, Harris LT, Fiske ST (2006) Toward socially inspired social neuroscience. Brain Res 1079:76–85. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2005.12.114

    Google Scholar 

  • Torralva T, Kipps CM, Hodges JR, Clark L, Bekinschtein T, Roca M, Manes F (2007) The relationship between affective decision-making and theory of mind in the frontal variant of fronto-temporal dementia. Neuropsychologia 45:342–349. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.05.031

    Google Scholar 

  • Via E, Radua J, Cardoner N, Happe F, Mataix-Cols D (2011) Meta-analysis of gray matter abnormalities in autism spectrum disorder: should Asperger disorder be subsumed under a broader umbrella of autistic spectrum disorder? Arch Gen Psychiatry 68:409–418. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.27

    Google Scholar 

  • Viskontas IV, Possin KL, Miller BL (2007) Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia provide insights into orbitofrontal cortex function and social behavior. Ann NY Acad Sci 1121:528–545. doi:10.1196/annals.1401.025

    Google Scholar 

  • Watanabe M, Sakagami M (2007) Integration of cognitive and motivational context information in the primate prefrontal cortex. Cereb Cortex 17(Suppl 1):101–109. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhm067

    Google Scholar 

  • White TP, Borgan F, Ralley O, Shergill SS (2016) You looking at me?: Interpreting social cues in schizophrenia. Psychol Med 46:149–160. doi:10.1017/S0033291715001622

    Google Scholar 

  • Wong AH, Van Tol HH (2003) Schizophrenia: from phenomenology to neurobiology. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 27:269–306

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was partially supported by grants from CONICET, CONICYT/FONDECYT Regular (1,130,920), FONCyT-PICT 2012-0412, 2012-1309, and the INECO Foundation FONDAP 15150012.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Sandra Baez or Agustín Ibanez .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Baez, S., García, A.M., Ibanez, A. (2016). The Social Context Network Model in Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases. In: Wöhr, M., Krach, S. (eds) Social Behavior from Rodents to Humans. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, vol 30. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/7854_2016_443

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics