Evaluating animal threats and human intentions uses common brain network

WASHINGTON, DC — Assessing whether a fluffy bunny or a giant spider poses a threat to our safety happens automatically. New research suggests the same brain areas may be involved in both detecting threats posed by animals and evaluating other humans’ intentions. The study, published in the May 11 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, offers insight into a basic feature of human cognition: how we understand and evaluate other creatures. “The idea that animals may be processed in a similar way [to humans] and may piggyback on regions of the brain that have been implicated in social cognition suggests that those regions … are multipurpose,” said study author Andrew Connolly of Dartmouth College. Previously Connolly’s research group found that hierarchical classes of animals (say, bugs vs. mammals) are represented…


Link to Full Article: Evaluating animal threats and human intentions uses common brain network