This chapter reviews some of the literature pertaining to stress/fear and defense to illustrate how both perspectives are useful in understanding the neurobiological correlates of social defeat or subordination. It shows that that conditioned defeat in Syrian hamsters is elicited in most males following a single or multiple exposures to social defeat. Conditioned defeat is an ecologically relevant example of fear conditioning. Many brain areas (e.g., the amygdale and the BNST) and neurochemical signals (e.g., glutamate, GABA, CRF, and CREB) that have been shown to be important in fear conditioning in artificial, but highly controllable, situations are also involved in a similar fashion in the mediation or modulation of conditioned defeat.
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