Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews




104971 (1-14)


Neuroscientists have sought to identify the underlying neural systems supporting social processing that allow interaction and communication, forming social relationships, and navigating the social world. Through the use of NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework, we evaluated consensus among studies that examined brain activity during social tasks to elucidate regions comprising the “social brain”. We examined convergence across tasks corresponding to the four RDoC social constructs, including Affiliation and Attachment, Social Communication, Perception and Understanding of Self, and Perception and Understanding of Others. We performed a series of coordinate-based meta-analyses using the activation likelihood estimate (ALE) method. Meta-analysis was performed on whole-brain coordinates reported from 864 fMRI contrasts using the NiMARE Python package, revealing convergence in medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, temporoparietal junction, bilateral insula, amygdala, fusiform gyrus, precuneus, and thalamus. Additionally, four separate RDoC-based meta-analyses revealed differential convergence associated with the four social constructs. These outcomes highlight the neural support underlying these social constructs and inform future research on alterations among neurotypical and atypical populations.


© 2022 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

Data Availability

Article states: Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in the online version at doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104971.

Original Publication Citation

Pintos Lobo, R., Bottenhorn, K. L., Riedel, M. C., Toma, A. I., Hare, M. M., Smith, D. D., Moor, A. C., Cowan, I. K., Valdes, J. A., Bartley, J. E., Salo, T., Boeving, E. R., Pankey, B., Sutherland, M. T., Musser, E. D., & Laird, A. R. (2023). Neural systems underlying RDoC social constructs: An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 144, 1-14, Article 104971.