Oxytocin, vasopressin, and human social behavior

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Abstract

There is substantial evidence from animal research indicating a key role of the neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) in the regulation of complex social cognition and behavior. As social interaction permeates the whole of human society, and the fundamental ability to form attachment is indispensable for social relationships, studies are beginning to dissect the roles of OT and AVP in human social behavior. New experimental paradigms and technologies in human research allow a more nuanced investigation of the molecular basis of social behavior. In addition, a better understanding of the neurobiology and neurogenetics of human social cognition and behavior has important implications for the current development of novel clinical approaches for mental disorders that are associated with social deficits (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety disorder, and borderline personality disorder). This review focuses on our recent knowledge of the behavioral, endocrine, genetic, and neural effects of OT and AVP in humans and provides a synthesis of recent advances made in the effort to implicate the oxytocinergic system in the treatment of psychopathological states. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Heinrichs, M., von Dawans, B., & Domes, G. (2009, October). Oxytocin, vasopressin, and human social behavior. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2009.05.005

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