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Author Notes:

Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Tel: +1 404 727 8272; Fax: +1 404 727 8070; E-mail: lyoun03@emory.edu


Research Funding:

The author receives research funding from National Institutes of Health and the McKnight Foundation.

Can Understanding Social Preferences in Rodents Lead to Novel Pharmacotherapies for Social Anxiety and Avoidance in Psychiatric Disorders?


Journal Title:



Volume 36, Number 11


, Pages 2151-2152

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Social creatures, including us, are naturally drawn to social stimuli. We are more attracted to biological motion, faces, and other social cues than we are to trees, rocks, or other inanimate objects. Social interactions are critical for our well-being. However, individuals with autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia display diminished interest in social stimuli and may be socially withdrawn. In addition, social phobias and social anxiety can have devastating impacts on the development of healthy social relationships. A study published in this issue by Lukas et al (2011) from Inga Neumann's group in Regensburg, Germany, used rats and mice to explore the role of the neuropeptide, oxytocin, on the preference for social stimuli and a form of social anxiety induced by social defeat. These preclinical studies in animals have important implications for developing novel pharmacotherapies for psychiatric disorders with muted social interest and elevated social withdrawal.

Copyright information:

© 2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

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