The region of the brain responsible for social memory, which allows animals to recognise members of the same species, has been identified as the hippocampal CA2.
Research led by Dr Steven A. Siegelbaum involved a series of behavioural tests on transgenic mice in whom CA2 neurons could be selectively inhibited. Mice with an inactivated CA2 region demonstrated no preference for unfamiliar mice, showing a lack of social memory.
The hippocampus, located in the brain’s temporal lobe, has long been known to play a crucial role in all forms of memory, but the relatively small subsection that is the CA2 had remained largely unexamined.
This research could further understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders characterised by altered social behaviours such as autism and schizophrenia.Read more at Columbia University Medical Center