Research Repository

The effect of oxytocin on pupil response to naturalistic dynamic facial expressions

Daughters, Katie and Burley, Daniel (2020) 'The effect of oxytocin on pupil response to naturalistic dynamic facial expressions.' Hormones and Behaviour, 125. p. 104837. ISSN 0018-506X

Final HB Manuscript ESSEX.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (361kB) | Preview


The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been found to play an important role in a variety of social behaviours and social cognition in particular. The social salience hypothesis of OT suggests that OT shifts attention towards socially relevant stimuli, which offers an explanation for improvements on social cognition measures following OT administration. Pupil dilation occurs with increasing attentional resource allocation and previous research has found that OT administration led to an increase in pupil diameter in response to social stimuli relative to placebo (PL), thereby suggesting increased social attention. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of OT on pupillary responses to more naturalistic social stimuli in a larger sample. Ninety-four male participants took part in the double-blind, placebo controlled, mixed-design study, in which they self-administered either an OT or PL nasal spray before viewing naturalistic dynamic facial expressions of emotion (happy, sad, fear and anger). Contrary to prediction, there was no effect of OT administration on pupil diameter. The results are discussed in light of the social salience hypothesis and with reference to the methodological differences between studies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Oxytocin, pupillometry, social cognition, emotion, facial expressions, dynamic stimuli
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2020 07:52
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:17

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item