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The effect of oxytocin on pupil response to naturalistic dynamic facial expressions

Burley, Daniel and Daughters, Katie 2020. The effect of oxytocin on pupil response to naturalistic dynamic facial expressions. Hormones and Behavior 125 , 104837. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2020.104837
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The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been found to play an important role in a variety of social behaviours and social cognition in particular. The social salience hypothesis of OT suggests that OT shifts attention towards socially relevant stimuli, which offers an explanation for improvements on social cognition measures following OT administration. Pupil dilation occurs with increasing attentional resource allocation and previous research has found that OT administration led to an increase in pupil diameterin response to social stimuli relative to placebo (PL), thereby suggesting increased social attention. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of OT on pupillary responses to more naturalistic social stimuli in a larger sample. Ninety-four maleparticipants took part in the double-blind, placebo controlled, mixed-design study, in which they self-administered either an OT or PL nasal spray before viewing naturalistic dynamic facial expressions of emotion (happy, sad, fear and anger). Contrary to prediction, there was no effect of OT administration on pupil diameter. The results are discussed in light of the social salience hypothesis and with reference to the methodological differences between studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Cardiff University Centre for Human Development Science (CHDS)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0018-506X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2020
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 09:31

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