The Role of Oxytocin in the Perception of Faces

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02443727
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 14, 2015
Last Update Posted : May 31, 2017
U.S. National Science Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Rodrigo Cardenas, Penn State University

Brief Summary:
The main objective of this project is to study whether intranasal oxytocin (OT) affects how young adults perceive and attend to infant and adult faces. Based on existing research the investigators predict that oxytocin will facilitate the allocation of attentional resources on infant faces (compared to adult faces). The investigators also predict that oxytocin will enhance the activity of reward neural-networks associated with the perception of infant faces. The behavioral effects of OT (visual attention and face recognition) will be measured with eye-tracking while participants look at photographs of adult and infant faces. Neurological effects (the activity of emotion and reward networks) will be measured with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while participants look at infant faces on a computer screen.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Healthy Drug: Syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin) Other: Placebo Early Phase 1

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 71 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: The Role of Oxytocin in the Perception of Infant Faces
Actual Study Start Date : April 2015
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2015
Actual Study Completion Date : September 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Drug Information available for: Oxytocin

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Intranasal oxytocin group
Participants will self-administer a single dose of 24 IU oxytocin (Syntocinon, Novartis; three puffs per nostril, each with 4 IU oxytocin, 6 puffs total).
Drug: Syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin)
Dosage and details described in arm.
Other Name: OT

Placebo Comparator: Placebo group

The placebo is identical to the oxytocin formulation with the exception of the active compound.

Participants will self-administer three puffs per nostril of placebo (6 puffs total).

Other: Placebo
Dosage and details described in arm.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Data [ Time Frame: 45 minutes after OT manipulation ]
    The effect of OT will be assessed by determining changes in brain activation between treatment and placebo groups.

  2. Eye movements data [ Time Frame: 45 minutes after OT manipulation ]
    The effect of OT will be assessed by determining changes in eye movements between treatment and placebo groups.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Implicit Attitudes toward infants [ Time Frame: 45 minutes after OT manipulation ]
    Implicit attitudes toward infants as measured by the Implicit Association Test

  2. Theory of mind [ Time Frame: 45 minutes after OT manipulation ]
    Theory of mind as measured by the Reading the mind in the eyes test

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 25 Years   (Adult)
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Norma or corrected to norma vision
  • Participants are non parents
  • Able to provide written informed consent and to comply with all study procedures

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Dementia or severe cognitive disorders
  • Endocrine disease or malignancy
  • Nasal obstruction or upper-respiratory tract infection
  • Current or previous psychiatric disorder
  • Current or previous use of psychoactive drugs
  • Alcoholism or substance abuse
  • History of seizures
  • Neurological Disorder
  • Previous head trauma
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Claustrophobia
  • ferrous metal in any part of the body

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02443727

Sponsors and Collaborators
Rodrigo Cardenas
U.S. National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Rodrigo A Cardenas, PhD Penn State University

Responsible Party: Rodrigo Cardenas, Lecturer, Penn State University Identifier: NCT02443727     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: STUDY00001225
First Posted: May 14, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 31, 2017
Last Verified: May 2017

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs