Panksepp’s present research is devoted to the analysis of the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms of emotional behaviors (in theemerging field of affective neuroscience), with a focus on understanding how separation responses, social bonding, social play, fear, anticipatory processes, and drug craving are organized in the brain, especially with reference to psychiatric disorders. His past work in hypothalamic mechanisms of energy balance control was supported by a NIMH Research Scientist Development Award. He is author of over 200 scientific articles which deal with basic physiological mechanisms of motivated behavior. He is co-editor of the multivolume “Handbook of the Hypothalamus” and of “Emotions and Psychopathology.” He is current editor of the series “Advances in Biological Psychiatry,” and his text on Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions just appeared from Oxford University Press. His general research orientation is that a detailed understanding of basic emotional systems at the neural level will highlight the basic sources of human values and the nature and genesis of emotional disorders in humans. He has helped develop the controversial opioid-antagonist therapy for autistic children based on his pre-clinical investigations into brain circuits which control social behaviors and is pursuing new therapies for the treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD).
Emotions and motivation
Aggression, addiction, social behaviors, brain reward and punishment
Autism and other neuro developmental disorders