In 2013, President Obama launched what has been optimistically described as the "decade of the brain". The launch of this effort comes on the back of widespread acknowledgement that more is required to aid those suffering from mental health disorders. Specifically, a greater understanding of the neural circuitry related to behaviors specific to mental health disorders is needed. The field of research that relates the circuitry of the brain to specific aspects of behavior is referred to as behavioral neuroscience. The International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) was founded in 1992 specifically to meet on an annual basis and present the latest research findings in this field, and to gather together the international research community to discuss issues important for the development and progress of this scientific discipline. This special issue includes reviews of topics of emerging interest and advancing knowledge in behavioral neuroscience, based on symposia presented at the 2014 IBNS meeting. Topics discussed at the annual IBNS meeting ranged from investigations of the neural mechanisms underlying bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, traumatic brain injury, and risk-taking behavior, to behavioral consequences of obesity and immune dysfunction. Novel treatment areas are covered such as the use of deep brain stimulation, as well as investigation of the behavioral impacts of nicotine withdrawal and how this research will influence the development of nicotine cessation treatments. Hence, this special issue covers a wide-range of topics in behavioral neuroscience offering an insight into the challenges faced by researchers in this decade of the brain.