Inhaled oxytocin increases positive social behaviors in newborn macaques

Simpson, E.A., Sclafani, Valentina, Paukner, A. , Hamel, A.F., Novak, M.A., Meyer, J.S., Suomi, S.J. and Ferrari, P.F. (2014) Inhaled oxytocin increases positive social behaviors in newborn macaques. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (19). pp. 6922-6927. ISSN 0027-8424

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Inhaled oxytocin increases positive social behaviors in newborn macaques
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Early caregiver-infant interactions are critical for infants' socioemotional and cognitive development. Several hormones and neuromodulators, including oxytocin, affect these interactions. Exogenous oxytocin promotes social behaviors in several species, including human and nonhuman primates. Although exogenous oxytocin increases social function in adults-including expression recognition and affiliation-it is unknown whether oxytocin can increase social interactions in infants. We hypothesized that nebulized oxytocin would increase affiliative social behaviors and such effects would be modulated by infants' social skills, measured earlier in development. We also hypothesized that oxytocin's effects on social behaviors may be due to its anxiolytic effects. We tested these hypotheses in a blind study by nebulizing 7-to 14-d-old macaques (n = 28) with oxytocin or saline. Following oxytocin administration, infants' facial gesturing at a human caregiver increased, and infants' salivary oxytocin was positively correlated with the time spent in close proximity to a caregiver. Infants' imitative skill (measured earlier in development: 1-7 d of age) predicted oxytocin-associated increases in affiliative behaviors-lip smacking, visual attention to a caregiver, and time in close proximity to a caregiver-suggesting that infants with higher propensities for positive social interactions are more sensitive to exogenous oxytocin. Oxytocin also decreased salivary cortisol, but not stressrelated behaviors (e.g., scratching), suggesting the possibility of some anxiolytic effects. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that oxytocin increases positive social behaviors in newborns. This information is of critical importance for potential interventions aimed at ameliorating inadequate social behaviors in infants with higher likelihood of developing neurodevelopmental disorder.

Additional Information:cited By 45
Keywords:hydrocortisone, oxytocin, sodium chloride, animal behavior, animal experiment, article, attention, caregiver, cognitive development, controlled study, facial expression, female, gesture, human-animal bond, infant, Macaca, male, nebulization, neuromodulation, newborn, nonhuman, oxytocin test, positive feedback, priority journal, saliva level, scratching, skill, social behavior, social interaction, imitation recognition, individual differences, neonatal imitation, Administration, Inhalation, Animal Communication, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Behavior, Animal, Imitative Behavior, Macaca mulatta, Models, Animal, Oxytocics, Recognition (Psychology), Saliva
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B210 Pharmacology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:34834
Deposited On:15 Apr 2019 10:12

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