Oxytocin makes a face in memory familiar.
Author(s): Rimmele U, Hediger K, Heinrichs M, Klaver P
Affiliation(s): Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Zurich, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date & source: 2009-01-07, J Neurosci., 29(1):38-42.
Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Social recognition is the basis of all social interactions. Here, we show that, in humans, the evolutionarily highly conserved neuropeptide oxytocin, after intranasal administration, specifically improves recognition memory for faces, but not for nonsocial stimuli. With increased oxytocin levels, previously presented faces were more correctly assessed as "known," whereas the ability of recollecting faces was unchanged. This pattern speaks for an immediate and selective effect of the peptide strengthening neuronal systems of social memory.