Brain builds and uses maps of social networks, physical space, in the same way

Even in these social-distanced days, we keep in our heads a map of our relationships with other people: family, friends, coworkers and how they relate to each other. New research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis shows that we put together this social map in much the same way that we assemble a map of physical places and things.

“When we’re learning to navigate the real world, we don’t start off by seeing a whole map,” said Erie Boorman, assistant professor at the Center for Mind and Brain and UC Davis Department of Psychology. “We sample the world and reconstruct it.” The work is published July 22 in the journal Neuron. …

“Our results show that our brain organizes knowledge learned from separate experiences in a structural form like a map, which allows us to use past experiences to make a novel decision,” Park said.

By Erie Boorman, Assistant Professor at UC Davis Department of Psychology.

Read Article