The Modulatory Effect of Oxytocin on Interoception


This study is designed to investigate oxytocin's effects on interoception and whether these effects vary as a function of different emotional valence.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: September 6, 2017

Detailed Description

The present study will use a double-blind, between-subject, placebo-controlled design to investigate the modulatory effect of oxytocin on interoception and whether this effect will vary as a function of emotional valence. In Experiment 1, subjects will perform a heartbeat detection task and the group differences between oxytocin and placebo groups of the interoceptive accuracy and neural activity in the core interoceptive network will be investigated. In Experiment 2, subjects will be asked to watch emotional faces while perform the heartbeat detection task. Investigators will examine whether oxytocin's effects on interoception will be varied as a function of different emotional valence.


  • Drug: oxytocin
    • self-administration of oxytocin (nasal spray)
  • Drug: placebo
    • self-administration of placebo (nasal spray)

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: oxytocin
    • intranasal administration of oxytocin
  • Placebo Comparator: placebo
    • intranasal administration of the same ingredient except oxytocin

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Heartbeat Detection (Interoception) Accuracy
    • Time Frame: 45 minutes after oxytocin/placebo treatment
    • heartbeat detection (interoception) accuracy is calculated by the following equation: 1/N ∑ (1 – (|recorded heartbeats – counted heartbeats|)/recorded heartbeats). N was the number of blocks for the heartbeat detection task.
  • Interoceptive Network Activity
    • Time Frame: 45 minutes after oxytocin/placebo treatment
    • interoceptive network (including anterior insula and dorsal cingulate cortex) activity as measured by the functional MRI technique in the heartbeat detection task. In the heartbeat detection task participants were instructed to make a keypress each time they felt their heartbeat. The interoceptive network activity was indicated by the percentage of BOLD signal change. The value of the percentage of BOLD signal change indicates the level of a certain brain region activated (the involvement of a brain region in a specific cognitive process).

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Healthy subjects

Exclusion Criteria

  • Subjects reported having any neurological problems, psychiatric illness or drug or alcohol abuse and none were currently taking any form of medication and had not drunk any caffeine-containing beverages on the day of the experiment.

Gender Eligibility: Male

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 35 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Keith Kendrick, Professor – University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Keith Kendrick, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.