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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Promoting Social Behavior with Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone known to promote mother-infant bonds, and recently, in the research community, it has been suggested that it may be implicated in the social deficits of autism. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an article was published in which the researchers studied the effect of inhaled oxytocin on the social behaviors of 13 participants with Asperger’s or high-functioning autism (ages ranged from 17 to 39) and compared those results with participants who took a placebo.

They found that the participants who took the oxytocin were more inclined to interact with the most socially responsive partner in a video ball game. In the second part of the study, when participants were shown pictures of human faces, and asked questions about them, they were more likely to focus attention on the eyes which is an important marker of social interaction. The results of this small study are very interesting, and it will be interesting to see if the findings of this study are able to be replicated in future research.

The full version of the research article is available for purchase here or you can read the ABC News Article about this study.

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