Review ArticlesCurrent rodent models for the study of empathic processesCox, Stewart S.; Reichel, Carmela M. Author Information Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA Received 30 April 2020 Accepted as revised 18 August 2020 Correspondence to Carmela M. Reichel, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Basic Science Building Suite 416a, Charleston, SC 29425, USA, E-mail: [email protected] Behavioural Pharmacology: April 2021 - Volume 32 - Issue 2&3 - p 96-111 doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000590 Buy Metrics Abstract Empathy is a complex phenomenon critical for group survival and societal bonds. In addition, there is mounting evidence demonstrating empathic behaviors are dysregulated in a multitude of psychiatric disorders ranging from autism spectrum disorder, substance use disorders, and personality disorders. Therefore, understanding the underlying drive and neurobiology of empathy is paramount for improving the treatment outcomes and quality of life for individuals suffering from these psychiatric disorders. While there is a growing list of human studies, there is still much about empathy to understand, likely due to both its complexity and the inherent limitations of imaging modalities. It is therefore imperative to develop, validate, and utilize rodent models of empathic behaviors as translational tools to explore this complex topic in ways human research cannot. This review outlines some of the more prevailing theories of empathy, lists some of the psychiatric disorders with disrupted empathic processes, describes rat and mouse models of empathic behaviors currently used, and discusses ways in which these models have elucidated social, environmental, and neurobiological factors that may modulate empathy. The research tools afforded to rodent models will provide an increasingly clear translational understanding of empathic processes and consequently result in improvements in care for those diagnosed with any one of the many psychiatric disorders. Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.