Oxytocin regulates social approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The physical space individuals share is known as interpersonal space. As social creatures, people tend to approach others actively and explore the environment around them, opting for different space preferences with different people. In the current study, we sought to examine the role of oxytocin (OT) in regulating active social interpersonal space preferences. Contrary to previous studies that reported a preference for increased space following intranasal OT, we predicted that following OT administration individuals would exhibit increased active approach towards a protagonist. Accordingly, we measured active approach towards friends and strangers. The results indicated that OT increased social approach, particularly to strangers, suggesting that the OT system plays a major role in regulating social approach, depending on type of protagonist. The results are in line with the social salience and anxiety reduction hypotheses showing that OT increases approach to strangers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-687
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Interpersonal space
  • oxytocin
  • social approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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