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Published 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Internal States and Behavioral Decision-Making: Toward an Integration of Emotion and Cognition


Social interactions, such as an aggressive encounter between two conspecific males or a mating encounter between a male and a female, typically progress from an initial appetitive or motivational phase, to a final consummatory phase. This progression involves both changes in the intensity of the animals' internal state of arousal or motivation and sequential changes in their behavior. How are these internal states, and their escalating intensity, encoded in the brain? Does this escalation drive the progression from the appetitive/motivational to the consummatory phase of a social interaction and, if so, how are appropriate behaviors chosen during this progression? Recent work on social behaviors in flies and mice suggests possible ways in which changes in internal state intensity during a social encounter may be encoded and coupled to appropriate behavioral decisions at appropriate phases of the interaction. These studies may have relevance to understanding how emotion states influence cognitive behavioral decisions at higher levels of brain function.

Additional Information

© 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. The Authors acknowledge that six months after the full-issue publication date, the Article will be distributed under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC License (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). We thank members of the Anderson laboratory, past and present, for their contributions to the data and ideas discussed in this article, including Todd Anthony, Vivian Chiu, Brian Duistermars, Tyler Gibson, Weizhe Hong, Dong-Wook Kim, Prabhat Kunwar, Kiichi Watanabe, Allan Wong, and Moriel Zelikowsky. A long-term collaboration with Prof. Pietro Perona, and his students Piotr Dollar, Carlos Gonzalez, and Eyrún Eyolfsdottir, has been essential in developing automated methods for behavioral analysis used in this work. We also acknowledge Dr. Hongkui Zeng and her colleagues at the Allen Institute for Brain Sciences for their ongoing collaborative contributions. We thank Gina Mancuso for administrative assistance and Celine Chiu for laboratory management. Portions of this work were supported by grants from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and National Institutes of Health grants MH070053, MH085082, and DA031389. D.J.A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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August 19, 2023
October 23, 2023