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Mental Health Issues in Basic and Translational Social Neuroscience

NAMHC Concept Clearance


Kevin J. Quinn, Ph.D.
Chief, Behavioral Science and Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS)


Social neuroscience is a rapidly emerging new discipline. Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the number of satellite symposia in this area at organizations such as the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and a greater focus in the scientific literature. In 2002, NIMH sponsored an RFA for exploratory grants in this scientific area and the projects funded under that RFA have now been completed. As a follow-up, in 2005, DNBBS in association with the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development sponsored a workshop (Social Neuroscience: From Basic to Clinical Science) that brought together leading researchers in this field.

The planned initiative is an outgrowth of this rapid expansion in social neuroscience and will support applications aimed at making the connection between basic social neuroscience research and the clinical implications of these basic research findings for psychiatric diseases. Potential activities include, for example, the development of new animal models of social behavior that will enable findings of translational significance when neuroscience methods are applied; research that will lead to potentially new endophenotypes for psychiatric disease based on discovering fundamental neural mechanisms of social behavior in the normal state that are known to be altered in disease; research that seeks to understand whether social deficits are primary or secondary consequences of psychiatric disease; and human neuroscience research to understand the time course for the development of social behaviors critical to the emergence of psychiatric disease.

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