Increasing serotonin decreases quarrelsome behaviours and enhances agreeable behaviours in humans. Antidepressants, even those whose primary action is not on serotonin, seem to increase serotonin function. We suggest that antidepressants act in part by effects on social behaviour, which leads to a gradual improvement in mood. We review the evidence supporting the idea that anti depressants may be moving behaviour from quarrelsome to agreeable. The more positive social responses of interaction partners would initiate a cycle of more positive social behaviour, and this iterative process would result in a clinically significant improvement in mood.