Humans’ everyday experience of the world is influenced by our moods. Moods are consciously accessible affective states that extend over time that are characterized by their valence and arousal. They also likely have a long evolutionary heritage and serve as an important adaptive affective mechanism. When they become maladaptive or overly biased, pathological affective states such as depression can emerge. Despite the importance of moods for human experience, little is known about their causal neurobiological mechanisms. In humans, limitations related to methods and interpretations of the data prevent causal investigations into the origins of mood, highlighting the importance of animal models. Nonhuman primates that share key neuroanatomical, affective, and social features with humans will be essential to uncovering their foundation. Identifying and validating mood-like states in animals is, however, challenging not least because mood is a human construct requiring verbal communication. Here we outline a theoretical framework for animal models of human mood, drawing upon established psychological literature where it exists before reviewing the extant studies of non-human primate models of mood-like states.
- Animal models