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Depressive symptoms and social context modulate oxytocin’s effect on negative memory recall


Depressive symptoms and social context modulate oxytocin’s effect on negative memory recall

Wong, Shiu F., Cardoso, Christopher, Orlando, Mark Anthony, Brown, Christopher A. and Ellenbogen, Mark A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8928-5492 (2021) Depressive symptoms and social context modulate oxytocin’s effect on negative memory recall. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience . ISSN 1749-5024

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Oxytocin promotes social affiliation across various species, in part by altering social cognition to facilitate approach behaviour. However, the effects of intranasal oxytocin on human social cognition are mixed, perhaps because its effects are context-dependent and subject to inter-individual differences. Few studies have included explicit manipulations of social context to test this supposition. We examined oxytocin’s effects on autobiographical memory recall in two contexts, with and without social contact, and evaluated whether these effects were moderated by depressive symptoms. Two non-clinical samples (Study 1 N = 48; Study 2 N = 63) completed randomised, placebo-controlled, within-subject experiments. We assessed autobiographical memory recall across two sessions (intranasal oxytocin or placebo) and two contexts (memories elicited by an experimenter or by computer). Overall, intranasal oxytocin increased ratings of vividness of recalled memories during the social context only. Individuals with elevated depressive symptoms also recalled memories that were more negative following oxytocin relative to placebo only in the non-social context across the two studies. Findings highlight the negative consequences of increasing oxytocin bioavailability in vulnerable persons in the absence of social contact. Contextual factors such as social isolation among depressed populations may complicate the clinical use of oxytocin.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Wong, Shiu F. and Cardoso, Christopher and Orlando, Mark Anthony and Brown, Christopher A. and Ellenbogen, Mark A.
Journal or Publication:Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1093/scan/nsab072
Keywords:Intranasal oxytocin; Autobiographical memory; Depression; Social context
ID Code:989123
Deposited On:18 Nov 2021 17:16
Last Modified:18 Nov 2021 17:16


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