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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Nov;47:506-19.

A general approach-avoidance hypothesis of oxytocin: accounting for social and non-social effects of oxytocin.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We critically reexamine extant theory and empirical study of Oxytocin. We question whether OT is, in fact, a "social neuropeptide" as argued in dominant theories of OT.

METHOD:

We critically review human and animal research on the social and non-social effects of Oxytocin, including behavioral, psychophysiological, neurobiological, and neuroimaging studies.

RESULTS:

We find that extant (social) theories of Oxytocin do not account for well-documented non-social effects of Oxytocin. Furthermore, we find a range of evidence that social and non-social effects of Oxytocin may be mediated by core approach-avoidance motivational processes.

CONCLUSIONS:

We propose a General Approach-avoidance Hypothesis of Oxytocin (GAAO). We argue that the GAAO may provide a parsimonious account of established social and non-social effects of Oxytocin. We thus re-conceptualize the basic function(s) and mechanism(s) of action of Oxytocin. Finally, we highlight implications of the GAAO for basic and clinical research in humans

PMID:
25454355
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.10.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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