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The present study was designed to investigate the effects of a single dose of synthetic oxytocin on facial emotion recognition in healthy adult man. Pictures of emotional faces are presented very briefly for a few milliseconds in a backward-masking paradigm in order to vary the level of awareness. In a randomized placebo-controlled between-subject design, recognition performance is compared between a drug (24 IU oxytocin) and a placebo condition. We hypothesize that oxytocin enhances emotion recognition even for facial stimuli processed with limited awareness.
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