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]

Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 2050, Australia.
Hormones and Behavior (Impact Factor: 4.63). 01/2012; 61(3):410-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.01.002
Source: PubMed


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.

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Available from: Adam J Guastella, Mar 21, 2014
    • "Most important, because the intranasal OT treatment is randomly assigned and always precedes behavior, this method permits valid causal inference (provided that internal validity is established). However, unlike in pharmacological studies of other hormones (e.g., testosterone; Eisenegger, von Eckardstein, Fehr, & von Eckardstein, 2013; Nave, Nadler, & Camerer, 2015), the pharmacokinetics of intranasal OT in humans is not well understood (Churchland & Winkielman, 2012; Guastella et al., 2013; Guastella & MacLeod, 2012; Leng & Ludwig, 2015; Veening & Olivier, 2013). Researchers also lack a simple way to conduct a manipulation check to) is endowed with 12 monetary units (MUs). "
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral neuroscientists have shown that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in nonhuman mammals. Inspired by this initial research, many social scientists proceeded to examine the associations of OT with trust in humans over the past decade. To conduct this work, they have (a) examined the effects of exogenous OT increase caused by intranasal administration on trusting behavior, (b) correlated individual difference measures of OT plasma levels with measures of trust, and (c) searched for genetic polymorphisms of the OT receptor gene that might be associated with trust. We discuss the different methods used by OT behavioral researchers and review evidence that links OT to trust in humans. Unfortunately, the simplest promising finding associating intranasal OT with higher trust has not replicated well. Moreover, the plasma OT evidence is flawed by how OT is measured in peripheral bodily fluids. Finally, in recent large-sample studies, researchers failed to find consistent associations of specific OT-related genetic polymorphisms and trust. We conclude that the cumulative evidence does not provide robust convergent evidence that human trust is reliably associated with OT (or caused by it). We end with constructive ideas for improving the robustness and rigor of OT research.
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    • "The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) is synthesized mainly in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON) of the hypothalamus (Buijs, 1978; Sofroniew, 1983), and regulates a wide variety of social behaviors in rodents and humans (Veenema and Neumann, 2008; Heinrichs et al., 2009; Ross and Young, 2009; Goodson and Thompson, 2010; Guastella and MacLeod, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sex differences in the oxytocin (OT) system in the brain may explain why OT often regulates social behaviors in sex-specific ways. However, a link between sex differences in the OT system and sex-specific regulation of social behavior has not been tested. Here, we determined whether sex differences in the OT receptor (OTR) or in OT release in the posterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (pBNST) mediates sex-specific regulation of social recognition in rats. We recently showed that, compared to female rats, male rats have a three-fold higher OTR binding density in the pBNST, a sexually dimorphic area implicated in the regulation of social behaviors. We now demonstrate that OTR antagonist (5ng/0.5μl/side) administration into the pBNST impairs social recognition in both sexes, while OT (100pg/0.5μl/side) administration into the pBNST prolongs the duration of social recognition in males only. These effects seem specific to social recognition, as neither treatment altered total social investigation time in either sex. Moreover, baseline OT release in the pBNST, as measured with in vivo microdialysis, did not differ between the sexes. However, males showed higher OT release in the pBNST during social recognition compared to females. These findings suggest a sex-specific role of the OT system in the pBNST in the regulation of social recognition.
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    • "Furthermore, infants express more social behavior(s) in face-to-face interactions when their father receives intranasal OXT than when their father receives placebo, and experience a post-interaction increase in salivary OXT (Weisman et al., 2012). Moreover, intranasal OXT appears to influence several features of social cognition (e.g., face/emotion recognition, judgments of trustworthiness and attractiveness; Graustella and MacLeod, 2012; van IJzendoorn and Bakermans-Kranenburg, 2012). However, these studies on adults examined whether OXT influenced perceptions of other individuals' attractiveness. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adult male-female bonds are partly characterized by initiating and maintaining close proximity with a social partner, as well as engaging in high levels of affiliative and sociosexual behavior. Oxytocin (OXT), a neuromodulatory nonapeptide, plays a critical role in the facilitation of social bonding and prosocial behavior toward a social partner (Feldman, 2012). However, less attention has been given to whether augmentation of OXT levels in an individual alters others' perceptions and behavior toward an OXT-treated social partner. We examined social dynamics in well-established male-female pairs of marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus) in which one member of the pair was administered an intranasal OXT agonist, an OXT antagonist (OXTA), or saline. OXT treatment did not alter the expression of affiliative toward an untreated partner. However, OXT did significantly influence the expression of proximity and grooming behavior with a treated partner, as a function of OXT treatment and sex. Female interest in initiating and maintaining proximity with a pair-mate was altered by OXT treatment. Untreated female marmosets departed from their saline-treated partner more frequently than they approached them, as indicated by a low proximity index score. However, when males received an intranasal OXT agonist they had a significantly increased proximity index score relative to saline, indicating that their untreated partner approached them more often than they departed from them). Saline-treated females initiated and received equivalent levels of grooming behavior. However, when female marmosets were treated with an OXT agonist their untreated partner groomed them proportionately more often, for a greater total duration, and for more time per bout, than they initiated grooming behavior. These results suggest that intranasal OXT altered male and female marmosets' stimulus properties in such a way as to increase the amount of grooming behavior that females received from their long-term mate, as well as increase female interest in initiating and maintaining proximity with their long-term mate. Furthermore, these results support the notion that central OXT activity plays an important neuromodulatory role in the maintenance of long-lasting male-female relationships.
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