Social interactions promote the communication of explicit and implicit information between individuals. Implicit or subconscious sharing of cues can be useful in conveying affective states. Knowing the affective state of others can guide future interactions, while an inability to decipher another’s affective state is a core feature of autism spectrum disorder. The precise neural circuitry and mechanisms involved in communicating affective states are not well understood. Over the past few years, a number of important observations in rodent models have increased our knowledge of the neural processes for social communication of affective state. Here we highlight these contributions by first describing the rodent models used to investigate social communication of affect and then summarising the neural circuitry and processes implicated by these rodent models. We relate these findings to humans as well as to the current global context where social interactions have been modified by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.