Serotonin, Emotion, and Behaviour

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Serotonin, Emotion, and Behaviour



  • Contact name

    Jonathan Kanen

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    3 years, 0 months, 0 days

  • Research summary

    The brain chemical serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is implicated in a wide range of psychiatric phenomena including depression, anxiety, impulsivity, compulsivity, suicidality, and aggression (Cools, Roberts, Robbins, 2008; Evenden, 1999; Coccaro, 1989; Krakowski, 2003; Linnoila & Virkkunen, 1992; Thakore et al., 1996). Burgeoning evidence suggests a role for 5-HT in aversive processing, and in flexibly adapting emotional responses and behaviours to meet the demands of the environment (Cools, Roberts, Robbins, 2008). We will expand upon existing work from our research group (e.g. Crockett et al., 2008, 2009, 2012; Worbe et al. 2014, 2015a, 2015b) and others (e.g. Geurts et al. 2013, Tanaka et al., 2008) to examine the impact of 5-HT in four domains in healthy volunteers: 1) emotional learning, 2) behavioural flexibility, 3) social processing, and 4) executive functioning. Volunteers will be assigned to receive either acute tryptophan depletion (ATD), a dietary manipulation that temporarily lowers 5-HT levels, or a placebo control treatment. By comparing these two conditions we will uncover the effects of ATD on emotion and behaviour.

  • REC name

    East of England - Cambridge Central Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    7 Jun 2016

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion