Oxytocin Modulates Eye Gaze Behavior During Social Processing

Overview

The main aim of the study is to examine whether the effects of intranasal oxytocin on eye-gaze behavior towards social stimuli are modulated via individual differences in trait autism

Full Title of Study: “Oxytocin Modulates Eye Gaze Behavior During Social Processing and Associations With Trait Autism”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2019

Detailed Description

In this double-blind, within subject, placebo controlled design a total of n = 40 healthy male subjects will receive either 24 IU of oxytocin or placebo (interval between administration > two weeks). 45 minutes after treatment subjects will undergo a total of 7 eye-tracking paradigms examining eye-gaze behavior during social processing: (1) dynamic social-nonsocial visual preference task during which movies of dynamic geometric images (DGI) and dynamic social images (DSI) will be presented; (2) non-biological versus biological motion task; (3) social attention and motivation of sharing enjoyment; (4) preference for emotional faces versus schematic faces (emoticons); (5) shared social attention – shared gaze direction with an actor shifting his attention to different objects; (6) preferred visual scanning of face regions in emotional faces; and, (7) eye gaze in response to empathy eliciting visual stimuli. Autistic and associated traits will be assessed using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (ASQ), Social Responsibilities Scale (SRS) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). Within-subject differences in the effects of oxytocin on social eye gazing behaviour will be related to individual differences in autistic traits.

Interventions

  • Drug: intranasal oxytocin
    • 24 IU of oxytocin nasal spray will be applied to each subject.
  • Drug: intranasal placebo
    • 24 IU of of placebo nasal spray will be applied to each subject.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Order of administration: oxytocin – placebo
    • Participants first receive oxytocin (24 IU). After a washout period of 2 weeks, they receive placebo nasal spray
  • Experimental: Order of administration: placebo – oxytocin
    • Participants first received placebo nasal spray. After a washout period of 2 weeks, they then receive oxytocin (24 IU).

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Global eye gaze characteristic: differences between oxytocin and placebo treatment
    • Time Frame: 45-90 minutes after treatment administration
    • Global eye-gaze patterns will be compared between the administration of oxytocin and placebo
  • Feature-specific eye gaze characteristics: differences between oxytocin and placebo treatment
    • Time Frame: 45-90 minutes after treatment administration
    • Localized feature-specific eye gaze patterns will be compared between oxytocin and placebo treatment

Secondary Measures

  • Global eye gaze characteristic – associations with autism traits
    • Time Frame: 45-90 minutes after treatment administration
    • Within-subject differences in global eye gaze characteristics between the oxytocin and placebo administration will be examined for associations with individual differences in autism traits
  • Feature-specific eye gaze characteristics – associations with trait autism
    • Time Frame: 45-90 minutes after treatment administration
    • Within-subject differences in localized feature-specific eye gaze characteristics between the oxytocin and placebo administration will be examined for associations with individual differences in autism traits

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Healthy subjects without any past or present psychiatric or neurological disorders

Exclusion Criteria

  • History of brain injury
  • Visual impairments
  • Use of medication
  • Contraindications for oxytocin administration

Gender Eligibility: Male

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 30 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)
    • Juan Kou, MSc, Study Chair, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Keith M Kendrick, PhD, 86-28-61830811, k.kendrick.uestc@gmail.com

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