4 years ago

Oxytocin facilitates reciprocity in social communication.

Flach A, Scheele D, Hurlemann R, Stoffel-Wagner B, Maier W, Schwarz S, Kofferath C, Spengler FB, Marsh N
Synchrony in social groups may confer significant evolutionary advantages by improving group cohesion and social interaction. However, the neurobiological mechanisms translating social synchrony into refined social information transmission between interacting individuals are still elusive. In two successively conducted experiments involving a total of 199 healthy volunteers, we explored the involvement of the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) in reciprocal social interaction. First, we show that synchronous social interactions evoke heightened endogenous OXT release in dyadic partners. In a second step, we examined the consequences of elevated OXT concentrations on emotion transmission by intranasally administering synthetic OXT before recording emotional expressions. Intriguingly, our data demonstrate that the subjects' facial and vocal expressiveness of fear and happiness is enhanced after OXT compared to placebo administration. Collectively, our findings point to a central role of social synchrony in facilitating reciprocal communication between individuals via heightened OXT signaling. Elevated OXT concentrations among synchronized individuals seem to augment the partners' emotional expressiveness, thereby contributing to improved transmission of emotional information in social communication.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28444316

DOI: PubMed:28444316

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