The Other and Me: Effects of oxytocin on self-other distinction.

Affiliation

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Distinguishing self- from other-related representations plays an important role in social interactions. The neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to modulate social behavior as well as underlying social cognitions and emotions. However, how exactly oxytocin modulates representations of self and other is still unclear. The present study therefore aimed to assess effects of oxytocin on self-other distinction on two different processing levels (i.e., lower-level imitation-inhibition and higher-level perspective taking) in a male sample (n = 56) by performing a double-blind, placebo-controlled oxytocin administration study. Oxytocin improved visual perspective-taking and thus affected self-other distinction on the cognitive level, but had no effects on self-other distinction on the perceptual-motor level nor on a control task measuring attention reorientation. Thus, our findings suggest that oxytocin reduces ambiguity during perspective-taking in social interactions, which in turn may encourage social approach motivation and affiliative behavior.

Keywords

Imitation,Oxytocin,Perspective-taking,Self-other distinction,Social approach,

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