Oxytocin and Social Adaptation: Insights from Neuroimaging Studies of Healthy and Clinical Populations

Yina Ma, Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Shihui Han, Caroline F. Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Adaptation to the social environment is critical for human survival. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), implicated in social cognition and emotions pivotal to sociality and well-being, is a promising pharmacological target for social and emotional dysfunction. We suggest here that the multifaceted role of OT in socio-affective processes improves the capability for social adaptation. We review OT effects on socio-affective processes, with a focus on OT-neuroimaging studies, to elucidate neuropsychological mechanisms through which OT promotes social adaptation. We also review OT-neuroimaging studies of individuals with social deficits and suggest that OT ameliorates impaired social adaptation by normalizing hyper- or hypo-brain activity. The social adaption model (SAM) provides an integrative understanding of discrepant OT effects and the modulations of OT action by personal milieu and context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Oxytocin and Social Adaptation: Insights from Neuroimaging Studies of Healthy and Clinical Populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this