About this Research Topic
Motivated behaviors, both social (e.g., sexual behavior, parental care, social play, social interaction) and non-social (e.g., feeding), represent fundamental aspects in the life of complex organisms and are at the basis of the species’ survival being necessary for development and reproduction. Besides these aspects, human motivated behaviors involve a broad array of activities, often not directly connected with individual’s and species’ survival. In recent years studies in the field pointed out the crucial role of alterations in the motivational state in several psychopathological conditions, ranging from depression to compulsive behavior and drug addiction.
Sexual behavior is a strong, primary natural reinforcer that refers to a complex class of behaviors, generally depicted as appetitive and consummatory behaviors. Researchers are starting to unravel the complex neurobiological and neuroendocrine aspects underlying sexual behavior. These studies are particularly crucial because this behavior is altered in several psychopathological conditions such as schizophrenia, major depression, mania, compulsion, behavioral addictions, including sex and drug addiction. Thus, the study of the neurobehavioral and neurobiological underpinnings of sexual behavior may provide useful information about the mechanisms underlying not only the motivational determinants of sexual behavior but also the putative neural alterations at the basis of important core features of the psychopathological conditions mentioned above.
The general aim of this Research Topic is to present up-to-date information on the neurobiology of sexual behavior and on the development of new approaches and models for the study of animal and human motivation (and its alterations) in males and females. We welcome contributions spanning from preclinical animal models to translational studies in humans aimed at understanding the neurobiological bases of sexual behavior as a general model for the study of motivated behaviors, with the ultimate goal of
identifying new therapeutic approaches for treating both psychogenic sexual dysfunctions and psychopathological conditions characterized by altered motivation and dysfunctional related behavior.
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