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Oxytocin administration versus emotion training in healthy males: Considerations for future research

Daughters, Katie ORCID:, Rees, Aled ORCID:, Hunnikin, Laura, Wells, Amy, Hall, Jeremy ORCID: and van Goozen, Stephanie ORCID: 2022. Oxytocin administration versus emotion training in healthy males: Considerations for future research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 377 (1858) , 20210056. 10.1098/rstb.2021.0056

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Identifying emotions correctly is essential for successful social interaction. There is therefore a keen interest in designing therapeutic interventions to improve emotion recognition in individuals who struggle with social interaction. The neuropeptide oxytocin has been proposed as a potential physiological intervention due to its important role in emotion recognition and other aspects of social cognition. However, there are a number of caveats to consider with the current form of intranasal oxytocin commonly used in the literature. Psychological interventions, on the other hand, do not carry the same caveats, and there is, therefore, a need to understand how intranasal oxytocin administration compares to psychological interventions designed to target the same psychological phenomena; and whether a combined intervention approach may provide additive benefits. Here we present a pilot, proof-of-concept study in healthy volunteers comparing the effect of intranasal oxytocin against a validated emotion training programme, finding that the psychological intervention, and not intranasal oxytocin, improved emotion recognition specifically for angry expressions. We discuss the theoretical implications of the research for future clinical trials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Centre for Human Development Science (CHDS)
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 0962-8436
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 5 November 2021
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 17:16

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