New technologies are allowing us to explore the brain as never before. We are entering a new era in neuroscience where our knowledge of the brain is beginning to match the urgent need to prevent and treat diseases of the brain.

How the brain encodes social rank and “winning mindset”

Most social animals, humans included, organize themselves into hierarchies that guide individual behavior. For instance, if you’re reaching for the last piece of pizza at a party and you see another hand going for it at the same time, your next move probably depends both on how you feel and to whom the hand belongs. Your little sister—you might go ahead and grab the pizza. Your boss—you’re likely to step back and give up the slice. But if you’re hungry and feeling particularly confident, you might go for it. Professor Kay Tye, co-first authors Nancy Padilla-Coreano and Kanha Batra, and colleagues have made inroads in uncovering how mammalian brains encode social rank and use that information to shape our behaviors, such as whether to fight for that last pizza slice.

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