Oxytocin and Social Cognition

Overview

The purpose of this study is to determine whether oxytocin influences memory of social stimuli and reaction to social stimuli. Furthermore the investigators explore the effect of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) polymorphism in terms of behavioral and neural responses to social stimuli.

Full Title of Study: “Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomized Study: Oxytocin and OXTR-genotypes Influence Behavioral and Neural Social Reactions”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2013

Detailed Description

The prevailing view of OXT as a key facilitator of prosocial behaviors has been highly influenced by a plethora of studies in healthy volunteers, which demonstrated increased interpersonal trust, generosity, social learning/empathy and positively biased social stimulus processing as a result of OXT treatment. However, this interpretation is challenged by observations that OXT also promotes envy and schadenfreude (gloating), ethno-centrism (including prejudice, xenophobia, and racial bias), and defensive aggression towards outsiders.We investigate the neural correlates of emotion perception and subsequent memory effects of aversive and neutral stimuli. Tthe oxytocin effect on personal space is questioned. Additionally the effect of OXTR polymorphism regarding behavioral and neural response is explored.

Interventions

  • Drug: Oxytocin
    • intranasal administration, 24 IU oxytocin; ; 3 puffs per nostril, each with 4 IU OXT

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Oxytocin
    • one application of 24 IU oxytocin per volunteer
  • Placebo Comparator: Placebo
    • sodium chloride solution, intranasal application, 3 puffs per nostril one application per volunteer

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • neural correlates of emotion perception and subsequent memory effects of aversive and neutral stimuli
    • Time Frame: two years
    • MRI data are analyzed using SPM8 (Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, London, UK). In the first level analysis the following conditions are modeled: ‘neutral: subsequently remembered’, ‘neutral: subsequently forgotten’, ‘aversive: subsequently remembered’, and ‘aversive: subsequently forgotten’.

Secondary Measures

  • the effect of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) polymorphism in terms of behavioral and neural responses to social stimuli
    • Time Frame: two years
    • behavioral social testing, fMRI analysis using SPM8, OXTR genotyping
  • The oxytocin effect on social behavior e.g. personal space is questioned
    • Time Frame: two years
    • behavioral testing e.g. personal space

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Healthy male volunteers

Exclusion Criteria

  • Current or past psychiatric disease
  • Current or past physical illness
  • Psychoactive medication
  • Tobacco smokers
  • MRI contraindication

Gender Eligibility: Male

Minimum Age: 20 Years

Maximum Age: 35 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University Hospital, Bonn
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Rene Hurlemann, MSc MD PhD – University Hospital, Bonn
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Rene Hurlemann, MSc MD PhD, Principal Investigator, Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Germany

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