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Understanding Other MindsPerspectives from developmental social neuroscience$
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Simon Baron-Cohen, Michael Lombardo, and Helen Tager-Flusberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.001.0001

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Social neuropeptides in the human brain

Social neuropeptides in the human brain

Oxytocin and social behavior

Chapter:
(p.291) Chapter 16 Social neuropeptides in the human brain
Source:
Understanding Other Minds
Author(s):

Markus Heinrichs

Frances S. Chen

Gregor Domes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.003.0016

The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in mammalian social behaviour and cognition. In humans, oxytocin contributes to the motivation and ability to understand the minds of others through several mechanisms. It regulates social approach by reducing social stress, increasing motivation for positive social interaction, and promoting attachment and social bonding. In addition, it enhances emotion recognition—a cognitive facet of empathy—and regulates social memory. Intranasal administration of oxytocin shows therapeutic promise for patients with mental disorders characterized by social deficits, including autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Continuing research on oxytocin’s role in human social behaviour is contributing to a broader understanding of the neuroendocrinology of the social brain and may eventually lead to the development of more effective treatments for social disorders.

Keywords:   Neuropeptides, Oxytocin, Social Approach, Empathy, Psychobiological Therapy

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