IBS Institute for Basic Science

Neural circuit mechanisms for affective empathy behaviors in mice

Sehoon Keum, Ph.D.

May 13(Thu) - May 13(Thu), 2021


ZOOM (ID: 728-142-6028 )

Neuro@noon Seminar

Date:  12PM, Thursday, May 13th

Place: ZOOM  

ZOOM 회의 참가 ID: 728-142-6028

Speaker:  Sehoon Keum, Ph.D.

(Center for Cognition and Sociality, IBS)


Title: Neural circuit mechanisms for affective empathy behaviors in mice


By observing the emotional situations of others, we can vicariously experience their affective states in our mind. The empathic ability to recognize and share the mental states of others is crucial for our emotional experience and social interaction. Humans and animals can acquire fears by observing conspecifics being subjected to aversive events. Observational fear is induced by social transmission of the demonstrator animal’s affective state and the neural substrate for empathy seems to overlap with neural circuits for observational fear. Recent studies have revealed many similarities between observational fear and human empathy, suggesting that this behavioral paradigm can be useful for assessing affective empathy in rodents. Utilizing in vivo calcium imaging of neural activity, optogenetic manipulation, neuroanatomical tracing, and advanced molecular genetic techniques, we seek to find mechanistic explanation for how the brain generates the affect sharing, and how pathological dysfunction within these brain networks causes abnormal empathic responses. My talk will address current studies on behavioral and neural circuit mechanisms of observational fear and provide perspectives on psychiatric disorders associated with empathy.