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  The effect of intranasal oxytocin on visual processing and salience of human faces

Hovey, D., Martens, L., Laeng, B., Leknes, S., & Westberg, L. (2020). The effect of intranasal oxytocin on visual processing and salience of human faces. Translational Psychiatry, 10(1): 318, pp. 1-9. doi:10.1038/s41398-020-00991-3.

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Hovey, D, Author
Martens, L1, 2, Author           
Laeng, B, Author
Leknes, S, Author
Westberg, L, Author
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1Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497796              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: The mechanisms underlying the role of oxytocin (OT) as a regulator of social behavior in mammals are only partly understood. Recently, it has been proposed that OT increases the salience of social stimuli. We carried out a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study of the effects of OT on binocular rivalry, a visual phenomenon underpinned by the interplay of excitation and inhibition in the cortex. A final sample of 45 participants viewed images of social stimuli (faces with different emotional expressions) and non-social stimuli (houses and Gabor patches). We demonstrate a robust effect that intranasal OT increases the salience of human faces in binocular rivalry, such that dominance durations of faces are longer-this effect is not modulated by the facial expression. We tentatively show that OT treatment increases dominance durations for non-social stimuli. Our results lend support to the social salience hypothesis of OT, and in addition offer provisional support for the role of OT in influencing excitation-inhibition balance in the brain.

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 Dates: 2020-09
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-00991-3
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Title: Translational Psychiatry
  Abbreviation : Transl Psychiatry
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Nature Pub. Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 10 (1) Sequence Number: 318 Start / End Page: 1 - 9 Identifier: ISSN: 2158-3188
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2158-3188