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Cortical representation of group social communication in bats
Science  (IF47.728),  Pub Date : 2021-10-22, DOI: 10.1126/science.aba9584
Maimon C. Rose, Boaz Styr, Tobias A. Schmid, Julie E. Elie, Michael M. Yartsev

Social interactions occur in group settings and are mediated by communication signals that are exchanged between individuals, often using vocalizations. The neural representation of group social communication remains largely unexplored. We conducted simultaneous wireless electrophysiological recordings from the frontal cortices of groups of Egyptian fruit bats engaged in both spontaneous and task-induced vocal interactions. We found that the activity of single neurons distinguished between vocalizations produced by self and by others, as well as among specific individuals. Coordinated neural activity among group members exhibited stable bidirectional interbrain correlation patterns specific to spontaneous communicative interactions. Tracking social and spatial arrangements within a group revealed a relationship between social preferences and intra- and interbrain activity patterns. Combined, these findings reveal a dedicated neural repertoire for group social communication within and across the brains of freely communicating groups of bats.