A mu-opioid feedback model of human social behavior. Meier, I., van Honk, J., Bos, P., & Terburg, D. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 121:250–258, 2021.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
Since the discovery of pain relieving and rewarding properties of opiates such as morphine or heroin, the human mu-opioid system has been a target for medical research on pain processing and addiction. Indeed, pain and pleasure act mutually inhibitory on each other and the mu-opioid system has been suggested as an underlying common neurobiological mechanism. Recently, research interest extended the role of the endogenous mu-opioid system beyond the hedonic value of pain and pleasure towards human social-emotional behavior. Here we propose a mu-opioid feedback model of social behavior. This model is based upon recent findings of opioid modulation of human social learning, bonding and empathy in relation to affiliative and protective tendencies. Fundamental to the model is that the mu-opioid system reinforces socially affiliative or protective behavior in response to positive and negative social experiences with long-term consequences for social behavior and health. The functional implications for stress, anxiety, depression and attachment behaviors are discussed.
@article{Meier2021,
abstract = {Since the discovery of pain relieving and rewarding properties of opiates such as morphine or heroin, the human mu-opioid system has been a target for medical research on pain processing and addiction. Indeed, pain and pleasure act mutually inhibitory on each other and the mu-opioid system has been suggested as an underlying common neurobiological mechanism. Recently, research interest extended the role of the endogenous mu-opioid system beyond the hedonic value of pain and pleasure towards human social-emotional behavior. Here we propose a mu-opioid feedback model of social behavior. This model is based upon recent findings of opioid modulation of human social learning, bonding and empathy in relation to affiliative and protective tendencies. Fundamental to the model is that the mu-opioid system reinforces socially affiliative or protective behavior in response to positive and negative social experiences with long-term consequences for social behavior and health. The functional implications for stress, anxiety, depression and attachment behaviors are discussed.},
author = {Meier, I.M. and van Honk, J. and Bos, P.A. and Terburg, D.},
doi = {10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.12.013},
journal = {Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews},
pages = {250--258},
title = {{A mu-opioid feedback model of human social behavior}},
volume = {121},
year = {2021}
}

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