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Horm Behav. 2006 Nov;50(4):640-6. Epub 2006 Jul 25.

Social conflict models: can they inform us about human psychopathology?

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Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 3966, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302-3966, USA.


Social conflict models have been proposed as a powerful way to investigate basic questions of how brain and behavior are altered by social experience. Social defeat, in particular, appears to be a major stressor for most species, and in humans, this stressor is thought to play an important role in the onset of a variety of psychiatric disorders including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Aggressive experience, on the other hand, may promote disorders involving inappropriate aggression and violence. Current research using animal models of social conflict involves multiple levels of analysis from genetic and molecular to systems and overt behavior. This review briefly examines a variety of these animal models of social conflict in order to assess whether they are useful for advancing our understanding of how experience can shape brain and behavior and for translating this information so that we have the potential to improve the quality of life of individuals with mental illness and behavioral disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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