Course Title: CE 12. Neurobiology of Socioemotional Behavior in Health and Neurologic Disease


Credit Hours: 1.5


Instructor(s) Katherine P. Rankin, PhD


Neurobiology of Socioemotional Behavior in Health and Neurologic Disease

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Technological innovation during the past decade has enabled significant advances in social cognitive neuroscience. Our understanding of the neural circuits underpinning socioemotional behaviors such as empathy, self-awareness, warmth, and reading others’ intentions is more precise than ever before. Faculty will provide an overview of how specific neural networks normally function to support social behavior, and will show how this new information can improve our ability to understand the kinds of neurologically based behavioral dysfunction that result from disease and injury. Disturbances of socioemotional behavior in clinical neuropsychology will be discussed using data from patients with diseases that particularly impair social functions, such as frontotemporal dementia, autism, ADHD, sociopathy, and Williams syndrome.  Specific neuropsychological tests and questionnaires that effectively measure these socioemotional factors will be reviewed, along with their correlation with brain structure and function.

Katherine P. Rankin, PhD

Katherine P. Rankin, PhD

Professor in Residence
Department of Neurology
University of California San Francisco

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Describe the specific neurologic systems in the brain that on which socioemotional behavior relies;
  2. Discuss the basic neuroanatomic organization of social behavior
  3. List specific neurologic conditions that particularly impair social functioning
  4. Identify and apply questionnaires assessing socioemotional brain networks

Click here to view 43rd Annual Meeting presenter and program planner disclosures.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Kate Rankin is a Professor in the University of California San Francisco Department of Neurology who specializes in the neuropsychological, neuroanatomic, and genetic underpinnings of human socioemotional behavior in healthy aging and neurodegenerative disease. In her work as a principal investigator at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center Dr. Rankin developed a comprehensive battery of tests to measure socioemotional functioning in cognitively impaired patients that was adopted at the national level by NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Coordinating Centers to improve diagnostic accuracy in diseases like behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Her research utilizes quantitative structural and functional brain image analysis to examine the neural substrates of empathy, theory of mind, personality, and the comprehension of social signals for sarcasm and deception.