Social Cognition

Social Cognition

In social species, high-level cognitive functions are strongly interconnected with social abilities and social context. Social interactions depend on our ability to decipher expressions of emotions in others. This biological process, defined as “social cognition”, has profound implications in everyone’s life. Consistently, disturbances in this domain are early and distinctive features of many psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. However, despite the deleterious impact on the everyday life of these subjects, social cognitive impairments still miss an effective treatment.


We focus on addressing the cellular mechanisms underlying the ability to discriminate conspecifics based on positive or negative emotional states, and the correlation of these processes with other forms of social behaviors. We are particularly interested on the implication and interplay of different cell types (neurons and glial cells) and systems, such as neuropeptides (e.g. oxytocin, corticotropin releasing factor, somatostatin), and neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, endocannabinoids).

[PAPERS] Social Cognition

  1. Scheggia D, Managò F, Maltese F, Bruni S, Nigro M, Dautan D, Latuske P, Contarini G, Gomez-Gonzalo M, Requie LM, Ferretti V, Castellani G, Mauro D, Bonavia A, Carmignoto G, Yizhar O, Papaleo F*. Somatostatin interneurons in the prefrontal cortex control affective state discrimination in mice. Nature Neuroscience. In press. *Corresponding author.

  2. Ferretti V, Maltese F, Contarini G, Nigro M, Bonavia A, Huang H, Morelli G, Scheggia D, Managò F, Castellani G, Cancedda L, Chini B, Grinevich V, Papaleo F*. Oxytocin Signaling in the Central Amygdala Modulates Emotion Discrimination in Mice. Current Biology. 2019. 29, 1–16 June 17, *Corresponding author.

  3. Ferretti V, Papaleo F*. Understanding others: emotion recognition abilities in humans and other animals. Genes, Brain Behavior. 2018. Dec13:e12544. doi:10.1111/gbb.12544. *Corresponding author.

  4. Szczurkowska J, Pischedda F, Pinto B, Managò F, Haas CA, Summa M, Bertorelli R, Papaleo F, Schäfer MK, Piccoli G, Cancedda L. NEGR1 and FGFR2 cooperatively regulate cortical development and core behaviours related to autism disorders in mice. Brain2018 Jul 27. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy190.

  5. Managò F & Papaleo F*. Schizophrenia: What’s Arc Got to Do with It? Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2017. Sep 20; 11:181. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00181. *Corresponding author.

  6. Galbusera A, De Felice A, Stefano G, Bassetto G, Maschietto M, Nishimori K, Chini B, Papaleo F, Vassanelli S, Gozzi A. Intranasal Oxytocin and Vasopressin Modulate Divergent Brainwide Functional Substrates. Neuropsychopharmacology2017 Jun;42(7):1420-1434. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.283. Epub 2016 Dec 20.

  7. Managò F, Mereu M, Mastwal S, Mastrogiacomo R, Scheggia D, Emanuele M, De Luca MA, Weinberger DR, Wang KH, Papaleo F*. Genetic Disruption of Arc/Arg3.1 in Mice Causes Alterations in Dopamine and Neurobehavioral Phenotypes Related to Schizophrenia. Cell Rep. 2016 Aug 23;16(8):2116-28. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.07.044. *Corresponding author.

  8. Papaleo F, Yang F, Paterson C, Palumbo S, Carr GV, Wang Y, Floyd K, Huang W, Thomas CJ, Chen J, Weinberger DR, Law AJ. Behavioral, Neurophysiological, and Synaptic Impairment in a Transgenic Neuregulin1 (NRG1-IV) Murine Schizophrenia Model. J Neurosci2016 Apr 27;36(17):4859-75. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4632-15.2016.

  9. Huang H, Papaleo F*. Genetic modulation of oxytocin's effects in social functioning. Ann Transl Med2015 Dec;3(22):348. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2015.09.36. *Corresponding author.

  10. Huang H, Michetti C, Busnelli M, Managò F, Sannino S, Scheggia D, Giancardo L, Sona D, Murino V, Chini B, Luisa Scattoni M, Papaleo F*. Chronic and Acute Intranasal Oxytocin Produce Divergent Social Effects in Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Apr;39(5):1102-14. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.310. Epub 2013 Nov 4. *Corresponding author.

  11. Giancardo L, Sona D, Huang H, Sannino S, Managò F, Scheggia D, Papaleo F*, Murino V. Automatic visual tracking and social behaviour analysis with multiple mice. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 16;8(9):e74557. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074557. *Corresponding author.