Abstract The effect of low (1 mg/kg) doses of morphine on maintenance of physical proximity were evaluated in paired rats observed in a 4 square foot test arena. Morphine reliably reduced proximity maintenance time, and this was apparently not due to sedation, since the effect was unmodified by doses of amphetamine which substantially increased motor activity. The effects of naloxone were inconsistent on this measure of social motivation. In general, the results are consistent with the theoretical proposition that a brain neurochemical change which might lead to social attraction is the activation of endogenous opioid systems. When opiate activity is exogenously sustained, animals exhibit a subnormal tendency to be gregarious.