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Effects of intranasal oxytocin and vasopressin on cooperative behavior and associated brain activity in men


Rilling, J K; Demarco, A C; Hackett, P D; Thompson, R; Ditzen, B; Patel, R; Pagnoni, G (2012). Effects of intranasal oxytocin and vasopressin on cooperative behavior and associated brain activity in men. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(4):447-461.

Abstract

The neural mechanisms supporting social bonds between adult men remain uncertain. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we investigate the impact of intranasally administered oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) on behavior and brain activity among men in the context of an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game, which models a real-life social situation. fMRI results show that, relative to both AVP and placebo, OT increases the caudate nucleus response to reciprocated cooperation, which may augment the reward of reciprocated cooperation and/or facilitate learning that another person can be trusted. OT also enhances left amygdala activation in response to reciprocated cooperation. Behaviorally, OT was associated with increased rates of cooperation following unreciprocated cooperation in the previous round compared with AVP. AVP strongly increased cooperation in response to a cooperative gesture by the partner compared with both placebo and OT. In response to reciprocated cooperation, AVP increased activation in a region spanning known vasopressin circuitry implicated in affiliative behaviors in other species. Finally, both OT and AVP increase amygdala functional connectivity with the anterior insula relative to placebo, which may increase the amygdala's ability to elicit visceral somatic markers that guide decision making. These findings extend our knowledge of the neural and behavioral effects of OT and AVP to the context of genuine social interactions.

The neural mechanisms supporting social bonds between adult men remain uncertain. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we investigate the impact of intranasally administered oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) on behavior and brain activity among men in the context of an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game, which models a real-life social situation. fMRI results show that, relative to both AVP and placebo, OT increases the caudate nucleus response to reciprocated cooperation, which may augment the reward of reciprocated cooperation and/or facilitate learning that another person can be trusted. OT also enhances left amygdala activation in response to reciprocated cooperation. Behaviorally, OT was associated with increased rates of cooperation following unreciprocated cooperation in the previous round compared with AVP. AVP strongly increased cooperation in response to a cooperative gesture by the partner compared with both placebo and OT. In response to reciprocated cooperation, AVP increased activation in a region spanning known vasopressin circuitry implicated in affiliative behaviors in other species. Finally, both OT and AVP increase amygdala functional connectivity with the anterior insula relative to placebo, which may increase the amygdala's ability to elicit visceral somatic markers that guide decision making. These findings extend our knowledge of the neural and behavioral effects of OT and AVP to the context of genuine social interactions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:28 Oct 2011 09:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:04
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4530
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.07.013
PubMed ID:21840129

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