Effects of opioid receptor blockade on the social behavior of rhesus monkeys living in large family groups

Dev Psychobiol. 1995 Mar;28(2):71-84. doi: 10.1002/dev.420280202.


Rhesus monkeys of 9 weeks, 48 weeks, 100 weeks, 150 weeks of age (young subjects), or mature parous females that were not lactating were given acute single doses of the opioid antagonist naloxone (0.5 mg/kg) and vehicle on different days and observed in their familial social groups. Naloxone increased the occurrence of affiliative behaviours. Young subjects spent more time in contact with their mothers but showed no changes in social grooming. Maternal contact was actively sought through contact vocalizations, decreasing proximity, and, for the youngest infants, increased attempts to suckle. Mature females made more solicitations for grooming and received more grooming from their companions. These results are interpreted in terms of naloxone blocking the positive effect arising from social contact and thus causing subjects to seek further affiliative comfort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect / drug effects
  • Affect / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Female
  • Grooming / drug effects
  • Grooming / physiology
  • Hierarchy, Social
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Environment*


  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Naloxone