Oxytocin and Social Adaptation: Insights from Neuroimaging Studies of Healthy and Clinical Populations

Yina Ma, Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Shihui Han, Caroline F. Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Adaptation to the social environment is critical for human survival. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), implicated in social cognition and emotions pivotal to sociality and well-being, is a promising pharmacological target for social and emotional dysfunction. We suggest here that the multifaceted role of OT in socio-affective processes improves the capability for social adaptation. We review OT effects on socio-affective processes, with a focus on OT-neuroimaging studies, to elucidate neuropsychological mechanisms through which OT promotes social adaptation. We also review OT-neuroimaging studies of individuals with social deficits and suggest that OT ameliorates impaired social adaptation by normalizing hyper- or hypo-brain activity. The social adaption model (SAM) provides an integrative understanding of discrepant OT effects and the modulations of OT action by personal milieu and context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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