Abstract # 210:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 22 (Decatur B) Poster Presentation


POOR RECEPTIVE JOINT ATTENTION SKILLS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH ATYPICAL GRAY MATTER ASYMMETRY IN THE POSTERIOR SUPERIOR TEMPORAL GYRUS OF CHIMPANZEES(PAN TROGLODYTES)

W. D. Hopkins1,2, M. B. Misiura1,3, L. A. Reamer4, J. A. Schaeffer1,2, M. C. Moreno4 and S. J. Schapiro4,5
1Georgia State University, William Hopkins, Neuroscience Institute and Language Research Center, P.O. Box 5030, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA, 2Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, 3Agnes Scott College, 4The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 5University of Copenhagen
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     Clinical and experimental data implicate the posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) as an important cortical region in the processing of socially relevant stimuli such as gaze following, eye direction, and head orientation. Gaze following and responding to different socio-communicative signals is an important and highly adaptive skill in primates, including humans. Our goal was to investigate whether individual differences in responding to socio-communicative cues was associated with variation in either gray matter (GM) volume of specific brain areas and hemispheric asymmetry in a sample of chimpanzees. Magnetic resonance image scans and behavioral data on receptive joint attention (RJA) was obtained from a sample of 191 chimpanzees. We manually traced the superior temporal gyrus using the Analyze software to obtain brain volumes for the specific regions. For the RJA task, each chimp was given a maximum of four test trials to elicit an orienting response, and the number of social cues required determined the score on the task. We performed partial correlation coefficients comparing RJA performance and pSTG GM volumes and found that chimpanzees that performed poorly on the RJA task had less GM in the left compared to right hemisphere in the posterior but not anterior superior temporal gyrus (beta=0.155 and p<0.04) . The results are consistent with previous studies implicating the posterior temporal gyrus in the processing of socially relevant information.