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Front Neurosci. 2014 Jul 29;8:217. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00217. eCollection 2014.

Urinary oxytocin positively correlates with performance in facial visual search in unmarried males, without specific reaction to infant face.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan.
2
Department of General Systems Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan.
3
Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Azabu University Kanagawa, Japan.
4
Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui Fukui, Japan.
5
Department of General Systems Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan ; JST, CREST Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in prosocial and parental behavior in non-human mammals as well as humans. It has been suggested that oxytocin may affect visual processing of infant faces and emotional reaction to infants. Healthy male volunteers (N = 13) were tested for their ability to detect infant or adult faces among adult or infant faces (facial visual search task). Urine samples were collected from all participants before the study to measure the concentration of oxytocin. Urinary oxytocin positively correlated with performance in the facial visual search task. However, task performance and its correlation with oxytocin concentration did not differ between infant faces and adult faces. Our data suggests that endogenous oxytocin is related to facial visual cognition, but does not promote infant-specific responses in unmarried men who are not fathers.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive task; infant; oxytocin; social cognition; visual search

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