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Role of Spindle Cells in the Social Cognition of Apes and Humans

Authors
  • Watson, K.K.
  • Allman, J.M.
Type
Book
Journal
Evolution of Nervous Systems
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
Pages
479–484
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/B0-12-370878-8/00165-8
ISBN: 978-0-12-370878-6
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The spindle cells, also known as the von Economo (VE) neurons, are known to be present in great apes and humans, but not in other primate species. These large, symmetric cells are present in the anterior cingulate cortex and frontoinsular cortex, and express subtypes of dopamine, serotonin, and vasopressin receptors. This receptor expression profile, combined with imaging studies that highlight the regions that contain the VE cells, suggests that these neurons may participate in circuits devoted to fast, intuitive processes, which, in turn, may mediate dynamic social discourse.

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