The research lab of William A. Truitt, PhD, is focused on determining how social interactions can be used to overcome anxiety. This lab team hopes to contribute to elucidating the neural mechanism by which psychotherapy helps patients overcome anxiety.
Truitt’s laboratory utilizes animal models, where rats learn to overcome anxiety-like behavior with the aid of social familiarity. Investigators here discovered that rats learn to reduce anxiety-like responses to fearful stimuli after repeated social training sessions with a familiar rat. This phenomenon is referred to as Social Familiarity-induced Anxiolysis (SoFiA). The reduced anxiety is dependent on social familiarity and establishing social familiarity in the presence of anxiety stimuli.