• Nanna Hansen
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master’s thesis investigates the modulatory effects of oxytocin (OT) on measures of affective and social cognition. In order to appreciate these effects, the thesis em-ploys a tripartite structure through three research questions. First, it aims to reply to how a cognitive neuroscientific perspective contributes to the understanding of affec-tive and social cognition. It is argued that neuroscience provides a broader under-standing including a biological anchoring of domains of affective and social cogni-tion. Here, research on the affective and social cognitive domains of emotion, emo-tion recognition trust and affective memory are described.
Second, the thesis aims to investigate what the scientific literature can inform us about the effects of OT on affective and social cognition. This part com-prises a systematized review, which includes 21 studies that assess the modulatory effects of intranasal OT on the mentioned types of cognition. The review concludes that a wide consensus of the effects of intranasal OT is not established. However, there is an overweight of studies reporting increased emotion recognition abilities after administration of intranasal OT. Furthermore, studies suggest that intranasal OT increases trust as well as empathic accuracy.
Third, the thesis aims to empirically elucidate how OT modulates per-formance of tests assessing trust, memory and recognition of emotional faces in healthy participants. The empirical study employs tests from the EMOTICOM test battery as well as an affective memory test to assess OT effects. Results showed that OT might modulate affective memory, however the result was borderline significant when correction for multiple comparisons. No OT effects were found on emotion recognition or trust. The discussion section provides a critical discussion of the ef-fects of OT stressing the lack of knowledge concerning the pharmacokinetic proper-ties of oxytocin, which entails methodological issues in the study designs. Here, the interpretation of the test results from the empirical study is also outlined. Further-more, this section also encompasses a critical discussion of the employed tests from the EMOTICOM test battery. The thesis concludes that the modulatory effects of OT are prosocial, however the results from the studies are equivocal and more re-search is warranted. For future directions, the prospects of OT as a pharmacological treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder are outlined.
Udgivelsesdato17 feb. 2017
Antal sider72
Ekstern samarbejdspartnerNeurobiology Research Unit
Dea Stenbæk dea@nru.dk
ID: 252018640