Intranasal inhalation of oxytocin improves face processing in developmental prosopagnosia

Bate, Sarah and Cook, Sarah J. and Duchaine, Bradley and Tree, Jeremy J. and Burns, Edwin J. and Hodgson, Timothy L. (2014) Intranasal inhalation of oxytocin improves face processing in developmental prosopagnosia. Cortex, 50 . pp. 55-63. ISSN 0010-9452

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.006

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is characterised by a severe lifelong impairment in face recognition. In recent years it has become clear that DP affects a substantial number of people, yet little work has attempted to improve face processing in these individuals. Intriguingly, recent evidence suggests that intranasal inhalation of the hormone oxytocin can improve face processing in unimpaired participants, and we investigated whether similar findings might be noted in DP. Ten adults with DP and 10 matched controls were tested using a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind within-subject experimental design (AB-BA). Each participant took part in two testing sessions separated by a 14-25 day interval. In each session, participants inhaled 24 IU of oxytocin or placebo spray, followed by a 45 min resting period to allow central oxytocin levels to plateau. Participants then completed two face processing tests: one assessing memory for a set of newly encoded faces, and one measuring the ability to match simultaneously presented faces according to identity. Participants completed the Multidimensional Mood Questionnaire (MMQ) at three points in each testing session to assess the possible mood-altering effects of oxytocin and to control for attention and wakefulness. Statistical comparisons revealed an improvement for DP but not control participants on both tests in the oxytocin condition, and analysis of scores on the MMQ indicated that the effect cannot be attributed to changes in mood, attention or wakefulness. This investigation provides the first evidence that oxytocin can improve face processing in DP, and the potential neural underpinnings of the findings are discussed alongside their implications for the treatment of face processing disorders. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:Prosopagnosia, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:12032
Deposited On:04 Oct 2013 08:36

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