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Brain Differences Seen in Social Butterflies

Small study found three regions were larger, more connected than they were in more isolated people

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Noonan said the next step is to better understand which areas of the brain are crucial to being social.

In the big picture, though, it may be difficult to understand what's going on because it will be hard to design a study that follows people from a young age and specifically determines how their brains affect their social lives, Zak said. "We are unlikely to have a definitive answer as to how our innate brain structure affects our behavior," he added.

Still, study lead author Noonan said this kind of research can lead to better understanding of how conditions like autism and schizophrenia disrupt people's abilities to be social in a normal way.

The findings were scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in San Diego. Research presented at meetings is viewed as preliminary until it is published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

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