The development of more effective treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders requires scientific progress on a broad front. Animal models have a vital role to play in advancing the field. When deployed in conjunction with detailed study of these diseases in man they bring the power to make controlled experimental interventions which allow the functional consequences of genetic variations and polymorphisms to be understood in terms of their cellular, systems and behavioural effects. Further, they provide a means by which complex cognitive and behavioural phenomena may be dissected and understood. Finally, they provide a bridge to understanding the effects of drugs on the functioning of the central nervous system, thereby improving our understanding of the actions of those drugs in man.