A critical review of the influence of oxytocin nasal spray on social cognition in humans: evidence and future directions.
ABSTRACT The past eight years of research has demonstrated that oxytocin nasal spray has a significant impact on human social cognition. The aim of this review is to provide critical comment on the literature using an information-processing framework. We provide a summary of fundamental assumptions of information-processing models and highlight an impressive range of consistent findings that demonstrate the impact of oxytocin nasal spray on social information processing. These findings include that oxytocin nasal spray improves the early conceptual detection of affect from social cues and improves the accurate appraisal of affect from social cues at elaborate and strategic levels of processing. There is some evidence that these effects may be particularly powerful for positive social cues. This review comments on inconsistent results that have been reported. We argue that such inconsistencies can, in part, be explained by variability across experiments in the degree to which potential extraneous confounds have been controlled, the different methods upon which studies assessed cognition, and the extent to which the focus of investigation has been on group-based outcomes. Finally, we argue that sound cognitive experimental methods can provide powerful tools to identify markers of response to oxytocin nasal spray that can be integrated into more complex circuitry models. The identification of robust markers has particular value in predicting behavioral and therapeutic response to intervention. This should now be a major focus for future research. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Social Behavior.
- SourceAvailable from: Jessica Oliva[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: It has been postulated that the neuropeptide, oxytocin, is involved in human–dog bonding. This may explain why dogs, compared to wolves, are such good performers on object choice tasks, which test their ability to attend to, and use, human social cues in order to find hidden food treats. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of intranasal oxytocin administration, which is known to increase social cognition in humans, on domestic dogs’ ability to perform such a task. We hypothesised that dogs would perform better on the task after an intranasal treatment of oxytocin. Sixty-two (31 males and 31 females) pet dogs completed the experiment over two different testing sessions, 5–15 days apart. Intranasal oxytocin or a saline control was administered 45 min before each session. All dogs received both treatments in a pseudo-randomised, counterbalanced order. Data were collected as scores out of ten for each of the four blocks of trials in each session. Two blocks of trials were conducted using a momentary distal pointing cue and two using a gazing cue, given by the experimenter. Oxytocin enhanced performance using momentary distal pointing cues, and this enhanced level of performance was maintained over 5–15 days time in the absence of oxytocin. Oxytocin also decreased aversion to gazing cues, in that performance was below chance levels after saline administration but at chance levels after oxytocin administration.Animal Cognition 02/2015; · 2.63 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The past decades have seen an explosion of studies on empathy in various academic domains including affective neuroscience, psychology, medicine, and economics. However, the volumes of research have almost exclusively focused on its evolutionary origins, development, and neurobiological bases, as well as how the experience of empathy is modulated by social context and interpersonal relationships. In the present paper, we examine a much less attended side of empathy: why it has a positive impact on others? After specifying what the construct of empathy encompasses, we brieﬂy review the various effects of empathy on health outcomes in the domain of medicine. We then propose two non-mutually exclusive mechanistic explanations that contribute to explain the positive effects of physician empathy on patients. (1) The social baseline theory (SBT), building on social support research, proposes that the presence of other people helps individuals to conserve metabolically costly somatic and neural resources through the social regulation of emotion. (2) The free energy principle (FEP) postulates that the brain optimizes a (free energy) bound on surprise or its complement value to respond to environmental changes adaptively. These conceptualizations can be combined to provide a unifying integrative account of the benefits of physicians’ empathetic attitude on their patients and how it plays a role in healing beyond the mere effect of the therapeutic alliance.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2015; 8. · 4.16 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Aging is associated with well-recognized alterations in brain function, some of which are reflected in cognitive decline. While less appreciated, there is also considerable evidence of socioemotional changes later in life, some of which are beneficial. In this review, we examine age-related changes and individual differences in four neuroendocrine systems-cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and oxytocin-as "difference makers" in these processes. This suite of interrelated hormonal systems actively coordinates regulatory processes in brain and behavior throughout development, and their level and function fluctuate during the aging process. Despite these facts, their specific impact in cognitive and socioemotional aging has received relatively limited study. It is known that chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol exert neurotoxic effects on the aging brain with negative impacts on cognition and socioemotional functioning. In contrast, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone appear to have neuroprotective effects in cognitive aging, but may decrease prosociality. Higher levels of the neuropeptide oxytocin benefit socioemotional functioning, but little is known about the effects of oxytocin on cognition or about age-related changes in the oxytocin system. In this paper, we will review the role of these hormones in the context of cognitive and socioemotional aging. In particular, we address the aforementioned gap in the literature by: (1) examining both singular actions and interrelations of these four hormonal systems; (2) exploring their correlations and causal relationships with aspects of cognitive and socioemotional aging; and (3) considering multilevel internal and external influences on these hormone systems within the framework of explanatory pluralism. We conclude with a discussion of promising future research directions.Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:1595. · 2.80 Impact Factor
Erratum to “A critical review of the influence of oxytocin nasal spray on social
cognition in humans: Evidence and future directions”
[Horm. Behav. 61 (2012) 410–418]
Adam J. Guastellaa,⁎, Colin MacLeodb
aBrain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 2050, Australia
bCentre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, 6009, Australia
apologizes for any inconvenience. The correct author and affiliation lines appear above.
Hormones and Behavior 61 (2012) 773
DOI of original article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.01.002.
⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 293510539.
E-mail address: email@example.com (AJ Guastella).
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Hormones and Behavior
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/yhbeh
0018-506X/$ – see front matter. Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.