Rick Thompson

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology


PhD| Cornell University| 1996

BS| Furman University| 1989

Courses Taught

Introduction to Psychobiology and Cognition


Hormones and Behavior

Sex Differences in Brains and Behavior


go to: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=SMHtjLoAAAAJ&Hl=en&oi=sra

Research Interests

Wrok in my lab explores how steroid hormones and neuropeptides in the vasopressin / oxytocin family influence social behaivors in vertebrate animals. Specifically, Specifically, we want to learn where and how wtihin the brain these molecules act to rapidly affect interactions between individuals in ways that help them adjust ongoing behavioral outputs to changing social contexts. Althoguh I have worked with numerous specis across vertebrate groups, current work is focused on goldfish and zebrafish, two closely related teleost fish in which we can study the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which these molecules affect brain and behavioral responses to social stimuli. We are currently 1) investigating the receptor mechanisms through which androgens and estrogens infelucne early stages of sensory processing, 2) characterizign the neural circuits through which vasotocin and isotocin, fish homologues of vasorpessin and oxytocin, promote social approach and withdrawal, and 3) trying to determine if steorid hormones produce some of their rapid behavioral effects by modulating activity within those peptide circuits. A complemenatary line of research explores how vasorpressin modulates social perceptions in humans. Ultiamtely, we hope to characterize steroid and peptide mechanisms that evolved to help different species solve social challenges unique to their individual life histories, as well as to identify the molecular, cellular and anatomical similarities in how these systems work across species that representt the fundamental mechanisms through which brain neurochemistry affects social behaivor in vertebrate animals.