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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by startup funding from the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research; Open Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning; Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission (Z151100003915122); and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Projects 31421003, 31470986, 91332125).
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience