Research Brief: Social Homeostasis

  • Kay Tye studies homeostatic mechanisms underlying social interactions and deviation from a set point (social isolation/loneliness).
  • Dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) dopamine neurons are the putative “effector” mechanism in “social homeostasis.”
  • They become more responsive to social stimuli after isolation, “an unpleasant aversive state.”

  • According to Tye, rank is a way to access the subjectivity of social isolation, in that “the degree to which neurons modulate behavior is predicted by social rank” (Matthews et al., 2016; Matthews & Tye, 2019).
  • Tye is also looking at how rank changes, depending on context (for humans, at home, in the lab, at the store, etc.).